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Perhaps this is why Mayor Giuliani was never excited about the idea of a non-partisan city Independent Budget Office (IBO). IBO’s first salvo at City Hall says the mayor’s sanguine budget predictions for 1998 through 2001 ignore a huge $700 million budget gap for next year alone.

Worse, the IBO predicts a steadily rising city budget deficit, culminating in a nearly $4 billion shortfall in 2001.

The agency, which Giuliani unsuccessfully sought to kill, says the the city will likely bring in $258 million less than predicted and will spend $443 million more than slated for next year. IBO says part of the problem is an underestimation of the impact of welfare reform and an overestimation of revenues from airport rent: Giuliani predicts the city will bring in $310 million from airport rent payments in FY98 but, IBO says that number is really closer to $40 million.

For a copy of the report call: 212-442-0629.

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