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No. 2, S., account of the Wisconsin Telegraph Company; Which were referred to the committee on claims.
Senator Rodolf, Chairman of Committee on part of Senate to wait on His Excellency the Governor, reported that the Governor would deliver his Message at 11 o'clock.
On motion of Senator Rodolf,
The Senate took a recess until five minutes before eleven o'clock.
At five minutes before eleven, the President called the Senate to order.
MESSAGE FROM THE ASSEMBLY
Was then received, announcing that the Assembly were in session, and ready to receive the Honorable Senate in Joint Convention, to listen to the Governor's Message.
On motion of Senator A. I. Bennett,
PROCEEDINGS IN JOINT CONVENTION.
Hon. B. G. Noble, Lieutenant Governor of the State, called the Joint Convention to order.
Mr. Holton moved that a committee of three be appointed to wait upon the Governor and inform that the two Houses are in Joint Convention, and ready to receive any Message he may have to deliver;
Which motion prevailed.
The President appointed as such committee, Messrs. Holton and Palmer and Senator Bennett.
The Governor and State officers were then announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and duly received by the Joint Convention.
The Governor then read his Annual Message:
Gentlemen of the Senate and Assembly :
The difficulties and embarrassments under which the State has labored for some years have been outgrown.
The Report of the State Treasurer for the fiscal year ending on the 30th day of September, 1859, shows a balance in the State Treasury at that time belonging to the general fund of $11,205 11.
Up to that time, after the receipt into the Treasury of the preceding State Tax, all demands upon the General Fund had been promptly paid on presentation. The State owes no floating debt. Since the first day of October all legal demands against the State have also been paid on presentation, and on the first day of January, 1860, there remained in the Treasury belonging to the General Fund the sum of $16,910 47 to meet any expenses that may arise.
There is a large demand made against the State by James Ross, State Printer, which has been audited by the Secretary of State, the legality and correctness of which is denied by the State Treasurer, and which, therefore, he refuses to pay.
The amount audited by the Secretary of State and paid to the State Printer during the past year, including $145 paid in December, 1858, is $38,341 97, of which all but $2,205 was from the General Fund. The amount audited and unpaid for reasons above stated is $38,762 16, of which $16,884 06 is claimed from the General Fund.
It is believed that the State Printer claims a large sum, for services performed by him as such printer, beyond what he is entitled to by his contract. The contract and the law should be closely scrutinized, and while there is a legal contract existing between Ross and the State, both parties should be held strictly to it. The aggregate receipts into the General Fund during the calendar year ending December 31st, 1859, were...
$534,051 28 Aggregate disbursements for same time,.
490,522 96 Of the amount expended, the sum of $176,875 65 was for Charitable Institutions, Capitol Extension, and State Prison.
And the sum of $124,768 85 for various purposes, under appropriations, certified accounts, &c., belonging previous to January 1, 1859.
Deducting this sum, to-wit: $301,644 50, from the aggregate expenditures of the year as above, we find the expenditures proper of carrying on the State Government, to have been $188,836 46.
The Secretary of State estimates in detail the expenditures to be defrayed from the General Fund of the State Treasury for the current year, showing each item thereof, and distinguishing between those which are provided for by permanent appropriations, and such as require appropriations at the present session of the Legislature: and showing also the resources which are applicable to defray such expenditures.
Assuming the estimates of expenditures and resources of the State as submitted by the Secretary to be correct, the indebtedness of the State at the end of the present fiscal year will
be one thousand one hundred dollars and fifty cents. But the Secretary estimates as part of the expenditures, an appropriation of $45,000 to the State Prison to be made at the present session, when the amount required does not exceed $25,000. He also estimates the printing for this Legislature in English and Foreign languages at $45,000, while the amount ought not to exceed $25,000. If the taxes for A. D. 1859, are promptly paid into the State Treasury, and reasonable economy is exercised by the Legislature, all liabilities against the Treasury can be promptly met, and it is believed a surplus of thousands of dollars will remain in the Treasury at the end of the fiscal year. There being no old obligations hanging over the State for which the Treasury is now liable, it is believed that a State tax of the same amount as that authorized by the last Legislature, will be ample to meet all the wants of the State for the year ending September 30, 1861.
On the 30th of September last there was due from Counties on State tax of last year $66,494 14, which has since been
It is a subject of congratulation, that the finances of the State are in so sound a condition. Unlike most new States, Wisconsin has paid for her public improvements, such as the erection of prisons and charitable institutions, without creating a permanent State debt for such purposes. The expenses of our State government, and the amount of our State taxes levied and collected last year, as well as the amount required for the next year, are less than those of any other northern State out of New England, with a single exception.
It is the true policy of the State in the future, as it would have been in the past, “ to pay as it goes.” Liberal appropriations for all useful and necessary purposes should be made; while prudence in the demand, and economy in the expenditures of the moneys appropriated, will enable the government of the State to move smoothly on with a degree of independence entirely unknown to other new States.
The School Fund on the 1st of October last, amounted to $3,001,297 30 Producing in interest, at 7 per cent...
210,090 81 Deducting interest on 25 per cent. of swamp land appropriated to Normal Schools,
17,302 47 And adding the amount of 25 per cent. of Swamp Land Fund In
come and the School Fund Income on hand, in all amounting to...
52,484 07 Gives the amount of School Fund Income to be appropriated in March next
The University Fund on the 1st day of October last, amounted to $300,725 22 On which the annual interest of 7 per cent. is
21,050 76 Add balance in Treasury,....
501 04 Gives income for the University for the year,
SWAMP LAND FUND.
The Swamp Land Fund on the 1st October last, amounted to... $988,712 88 The interest on which, at 6 per cent.,
69,209 90 This amount is by law divided as follows: To School Fund, 25 per cent.,
$17,302 48 Normal School Fund, 25 per cent.,.
17,302 47 Drainage Fund, 50 per cent., .
34,604 95 The last sum is distributed annually to the several counties in the State, in proportion to the amount received from the sales of lands in such counties. Including a balance in the Treasury to the credit of this fund, the amount to be appropriated the present year will be about $58,000..
Including the balance to the credit of the Normal School Fund in the Treasury, the amount to be appropriated this year to the Academies and Colleges of the State will be about $26,000.
VALUATION AND ASSESSMENT.
From the report of the State Board of Equalization, consisting of the Senate, meeting for the first time under the new assessment law, in September last, it appears that the number of acres of land assessed in the State last year was 17,411,418. The average valuation, as equalized was $6 78 per acre. The aggregate valuation of lands, as equalized, was $118,178,829. Aggregate valuation of lots, as equalized, $36,833,511. Aggregate valuation of personal property, $13,607,893. Total aggregate valuation of property, as equalized, $168,620,233.
A comparison with the same items of the assessments of 1858 is decidedly favorable to the good effects of the new law, showing an increased return and valuation of property in 1859 as compared with 1858, as assessed, of $82,619,680, and as equalized, of $98,702,213.
The true rule in the levy and collection of taxes is to make the property of the State pay the taxes of the State. When all property, real and personal, is assessed at a fair cash value, the burthens of government expenses are equally and fairly distributed. The property of every man is protected by law, and each should be compelled to pay to meet the expenses of the State according to what he has. It is difficult to conceive why any discrimination should be made in the assessment of personal and real estate. An offset of indebtedness against assessed valuation might as well be made upon an encumbered farm, as debts deducted from the valuation of personal estate. This question of assessment and the levy and collection of taxes, commends itself to your careful consideration. Independent of the defect in the law, growing out of the discrimination above suggested, our present law is defective in its details and machinery. It requires simplifying and perfecting.
The total taxation levied last year for State purposes, including the amount to meet State indebtedness, and for township libraries, was one and four-tenths mills per cent. on the dollar of valuation, producing in the aggregate the sum of $234,310 11, of revenue. This is $200,000 less than the previous year, and less than any year for the past six years.
59 97 63
The returns required by law to be made to the Secretary of State of agricultural, manufacturing and mineral statistics, are very imperfect, and show an inexcusable neglect in the officers charged with the duty of making such returns. So far as they have been made, they show the valuation of the products of industry to be $33,986,771; the counties of Grant, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Portage and Wood making no returns. These counties are among the most important in the State. The same neglect is exhibited in other particulars. The number of Deaf and Dumb reported is....
122 The number of Blind reported is. The number of Insane, And the number of Idiotic
Twenty-nine counties make no report. The law which requires statistical information to be furnished, is entirely inadequate, and ought to be revised. Severe penalties ought to be imposed upon officers who either carelessly or wilfully fail in the performance of such duties. It is a matter of great public concern that, every year, information be furnished of the evidences of increasing wealth and prosperity of the State. It is safe to conclude, that scarcely more than half the mineral and agricultural products and manufactured articles and fabrics of the State are shown by the reports made. Of the vast lumber and timber trade of the North and North-west, we have but a very imperfect knowledye. The Legislature ought to be furnished with all the facts showing the wealth of the