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MESS A G E.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and Assembly :
You, having assembled to discharge the high and responsible trust confided by the Constitution to the representatives of the people, it becomes my duty to lay before you such information, concerning the condition of the State, as I may possess; and to recommend for your consideration and action, such matters as, in my judgment, the wants and interests of the people demand at your hands. But, before proceeding to the performance of that duty, I regard it as not only proper, but even obligatory upon me to advert to the results of the year which has just closed; and to indulge in congratulations to an extent never before warrantable in the History of Wisconsin. With the exception of the epidemic, which has prevailed so generally throughout our country, it may be truly said, that the past year has been one of more than ordinary good lealth, even in this State-80 remarkable for its salu. brity. Prosperity has crowned enterprize and industry, in what. ever honorable channel exerted, until the admission is compelled from all, both at home and abroad, who are acquainted with its resources, that no State presents greater inducements to the vari ous industrial classes than our own. It has been ascertained that the amount of our exports, during the past year (including Lumber and Mineral) has exceeded the sum of thirteen millions of dollars,
While a great Commercial revulsion seems to be visiting many sections of the Union, crippling their resources and impairing
their prosperity, no State shares less in its effects, or is better prepared for its consequences. We have but to pursue that onward, though cautious policy, which has characterized our course thus far, in order to ensure the occupancy of that desirable position among the confederated States, which an energetic and intelligent population-favored by our advantages of soil and climate, joined to a fortunate commercial position—are so well calculated to command. Let us faithfully endeavor to perpetuate our prosperity and happiness—relying with confidence upon the Supreme Ruler for strength and wisdom.
While the wants and varied interests of a young and growing State like ours, necessarily call for much legislation, there is not at this time apparent an, amount of legislative labor necessary to be performed, sufficient to justify a protracted session. Excessive legislation is too frequently indulged in—resulting in onerous taxes and the enactment of conflicting and unwholesome laws.Still, while I believe it to be my duty to urge upon you the propriety of a brief session, and a rigid observance of economy in the expenditure of the public monies; I am far from meaning to be understood, as wishing to curtail either, to the prejudice of any interest which it may be your duty to provide for or protect.
Among the important matters to which I wish particularly to invite your attention, and on which, in order to secure a proper and timely result, it will become your duty to act at an early day, is that of a careful examination of the Official Reports, and the real condition of the several departments of the State Govern. ment. These reports will immediately be laid before you, and they will be found to be full and explicit. Your constituents have a right to claim at your hands, such information as you may be able to obtain ; and it is your duty to investigate closely into the doings of those intrusted with their interests. The conduct of all public servants, under our form of Government and Laws, is, and should be, subject to inspection ; and, upon a thorough and careful examination, it is but simple justice to all parties concerned that the people should know and understand the result. This
duty of the Legislature, though frequently demanded of them by the officers themselves, bas, I regret to say, been too long neglected and shamefully avoided.
The Reports of the Secretary of State, and State Treasurer, will exhibit to you in detail, a full statement of the receipts and disbursements of the Treasury Department, during the fiscal year, closing on the 31st day of December—from which I am enabled to lay before you, such information concerning the same, as I deem important for the purposes of this communication. It appears that the entire amount paid into the Treasury, during the year 1854, on account of the various funds, was,
$401,738,42 Viz: Account of General Fund, $191,299,46
do Principal of School Fund, 85,583,27
Income of School do 106,235,03
do do University do 8,775,07 Add balance in the Treasury January 1st, 1854, on account of all Funds,
Total $459,274,90 During the same period the disbursements appear to have been as follows, viz: Account of General Fund,
$222,154,12 do Principal of School Fund including loans, 84,996,06
do University do do do 21,898,93 Income of School do
97,188,88 do University do
10,640,44 Fox & Wis. Improvement Fund,
$437,007,43 Showing a balance in the Treasury, on the first day of Janury, 1855, on account of the various funds of $22,267,47
The Secretary of State, in his report, estimates the amount probably necessary to be drawn from the Treasury, on account of the General Fund, during the present year, to meet present and accruing liabilities, at $253,059,52 In this estimate, it is proper to state, that the sum of $141,638,72 is included, as necessary to meet arrearages, arising from the erection of Penitentiary buildings and support of convicts during the past and present year, alsu the sum necessary to be applied toward the erection of a Lunatic Asylum, and the completion of a portion of the buildings designed, and the support of, the Institutions established, for the education of the Blind, and Deaf and Dumb.
To meet the foregoing liabilities, the resources are stated as follows, viz: State Tax as levied and equalized under the act of 1854, $225,000,00 Bank Tax, (estimated)
30,000,00 Rail and Plank Road Tax, ( do )
9,0 0,00 Miscellaneous Resources, ( do )
$288,829,91 Among the matters of interest presented by this Report, is a brief review of the public expenditures, since the admission of Wisconsin into the Union-showing the yearly appropriations therefor, from 1848 to 1854, inclusive—amounting in the aggregate, to the sum of $830,244,30; of which $94,071,31 was in the years of 1848–9; $71,675,38 in 1850; $112,420,80 in 1851; $123,474,06 in 1852; $163,910,58 in 1853, and $264,692,07 in 1854. Of the last named sum, appearing under the head of expenses for 1854, $63,696.03 was for the expenses of other years; so that the actual expenses, for the objects of 1854, were $200,996,04, inclusive of such as are provided for by permanent provisions—thus only exhibiting that annual increase in public expenses, consequent upon the organization and progress of a new state, and growing in a great measure out of the necessary expenditures in providing Penitentiary and other public buildings, and the establishment of charitable institutions. While, from the foregoing, it would appear that the expenses for the year 1854, were between thirty and forty thousand dollars more than for any previous year, yet the aggregate, for general purposes, for that year, was evidently some