BOSTON (State House News Service) – For the sixth consecutive year, the annual report the state comptroller is statutorily required to file by Oct. 31 will be late. And while Comptroller William McNamara formally let his advisory board know that just Monday, his office also revealed that he had communicated the message to key lawmakers nearly three weeks ago.
In order to meet the annual Oct. 31 deadline for the Statutory Basis Financial Report (SBFR), McNamara and previous comptrollers have urged lawmakers to pass the annual close-out supplemental budget bill by the end of September to give his team and outside auditors sufficient time to prepare the report. Gov. Charlie Baker filed the close-out supp on Aug. 31, but like the unanimously-supported economic development bill, it remains under wraps and subject to redrafting at the legislative committee level.
“I write today to inform you that we will not meet the statutory deadline of October 31,” McNamara wrote to Baker, budget chief Michael Heffernan, and Ways and Means Committee chairmen Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Michael Rodrigues on Oct. 14. He added, “Even an optimistic outlook would place issuance of the SBFR some weeks later than its due date. No matter the origin of the delay, state law makes no provision to adjust the timing. We project this failure to hit the deadline with regret.”
In a letter Monday to Comptroller Advisory Board members and delegates, McNamara said the last time the state comptroller was able to file the SBFR on time was in 2016. The 2017 and 2018 reports were finished in November, the 2019 was delayed until January, the 2020 pandemic-shaded report was done in December, and the 2021 SBFR was done in mid-November.
In the letter Monday, the comptroller also reported that he had written to Baker, Heffernan, Michlewitz and Rodrigues weeks earlier “to convey the importance of the SBFR, its connection to other critical financial reports, and the potential impacts of significant delay.” That letter was included as an attachment.
McNamara’s communications director, Michael Sangalang, made no mention of the Oct. 14 letter when the News Service asked on Oct. 26 whether McNamara had been in touch with the Ways and Means chairs, even though it had been nearly two weeks since it was sent. –