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January 14, 1899.
.Record and Guide
ESTABUSHQ)^ jJl^iRPHeUi^ 1858.
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Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Ve«ey StreeL
J. 1. LCNBSEY, Business Manager.
" Entered at tJie Post-O^ice at New York,N. Y., as seeond-elaes matter."
JAiNTTAR-Y 14, 1899.
On ihe 28//; of January ire vnll issue tltelndex io Volume LXII,
of iJie JRecord and Guide, coverinc/ the period between July 1st and
Decemher Slst, 1898. Price, $1. 2Tiis Index in its enlm-gcd
forin, is now recognized as indispensable to every one engaged or
interested in real estate and building operations. It eovers all
transactions—deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, Imif^ing
plans filed, etc. Orders for the Index should be sent al onc^
to the office of publication, 14 and 16 Vesey Street.
THE speculative element in Wall Street has plenty of material
to manipulate and, thereby keep up the activity. At one
time it Is the Vanderhilts, at another the Grangers they take in
hand whenever tliere is no specialty to work on. Pennsylvania
came in for a share of attention this week. It is surprising that
this sterling issue should have so long escaped notice, probably
the difficulty has previously been in accumulating enough stock on
whicli to make a movement. The only dissatisfied people just
now are the brokers- who cannot get their customers to. take
profits and, as this ties up capital, who are asking for higher
margins and in the cases of issues that are hard to dispose of ex¬
cept in times of extreme activity outright purchases. So far the
banks have shown no disposition to check the upward move¬
ment and so long as they are willing to make loans on new basis
of prices, so long will the speculator keep up the game more or
less vigorously That the available canital resources of the com¬
munity are very great was shown hy the rem'ark of the Governor
of the Bank of England this week to the effect that Instead of
EuroTie financing the United States; the latter was now financ¬
ing Europe. This had reference to our reserves of credits on the
other side and was. probably intended to prepare the financial
world there for the conditions that wilt arise when these credits
nre wlflidrawn to sustain an increased commercial and Indus-trial
movement here, a consideration that dnubtless has a1?o snTnethliTr
fn dn- -with the maintenance of a 4'% discount rate by the Eank
nf Ensrland for so Ton?. On this side of the Atlantic there Is no
abatement of the cheerfulness that has characterized our people
since the Cuban Question was dissolved in a war -with Spain and
they tasted In advance the pleasures nf possession nf new ter¬
ritories which should supply opportunities for Increased industry
and enterprise. Beyond the dlsposttlnn of tbe broker to regard
with jealousy the tying up of his capital in the accounts' of cus¬
tomers who will not realize there is nothing to indicate that the
buying movement Is ended. Ai further advance would he Just as
much justified as was that made In many cases during the past
thirty days or so.
IN' the last phase of the Dreyfus case—the lapse of one of the
mem'bers of the Court of Oassation Into an agitator and a
demagogiies—and his subsenuent discredit by the Cham>her of
Deputies, there may be found a sign that this extraordinary case
will soon be finally and properly disposed of and that the Re¬
public will safely pass through the t-rylng and dangerous ordeal
that the case created for it. There has been altogether too much
cry of danger to the Government during this whole agitation and
French people like others get tired of a cry too often repeated.
At no time has there been a real scare; had there been It would
have found expression in financial disturbance and consequent
panic. As It Is the Grovernment savings hank has to some extent
been discredited and the stocking depository taken into con¬
fidence again by the people, and there have been undoubtedly
some large remittances to London; but there have been none ot
those great transfers by interests, which are by no means timid,
which would have been the case had there been any real danger
of political and social upheaval. The drivel to which the antl-
Dreyfusites have resorted, through the mouth of M. de Beanre-
paire, ought to kill their case. Tn taldng review of the past year
In Britain, it is found that during that period the downward
course of prices of commodities, continued from 1895 to 1897, re¬
ceived a decided check. Though there has teen no uniformity,
and some extraordinary movements, the rise in wheat under
Leiter manipulation fnr instance, on balance the upward' ten¬
dency predominated in the year. The extreme activity in British
shipbuilding, which accounts for some of the advances in
prices, is shown by figures recently published of an output for
the year of _1,610,000 tons, an increase of over 50% over the
output for 1897 and by long odds the best figures ever recorded
in any one year in that industry. Another European matter that
is worthy of notice is that strenuous efforts' are being made to
seize the present opportunity when the incidents connected with
the Prague Iron Industry Company showed the absurdity of too
much protection for the iron producers, to get the Governments
of Austria and Hungary to seriously consider the advisability of
reducing the duties on Iron, and stopping the combinations
formed by the large firms, which enable them to. fix their own
prices without fear of competition. Tn industrial circles, and In
the Belchsrath. there is quite a revolt against the monopoly In
the Iron trade, and a general cry that the duty must be reduced.
Except Russia, no country In Europe has set up such high pro¬
tective duties for iron as Austria. Money in Europe Is still in
good demand, the new year not having brought much relief, as in
Indicated hy the continuation of tbe high discount rates by the
■•^HE lists of assessed valuations of real estate in this city for
■t 1899 were duly opened on Monday last and the results In
the totals and In the sections affected by the Increases were
what we had already prepared our readers to expect. None the
less they are naturally received with Indignation by property-
owners ffpuprally and with loud protests by those who have been
Individually made the victims of the process of "equalization"
called for by the charter. The Tax Department pleads the man¬
date of the law to Justify what they have done. There can be
no question that the Charter does require valuations and taxa¬
tion to be equalized throughout the new city it creates, but it I3
taking too much for granted to admit at once that to put more
than three-fourths of the total increase upon Manhattan and the
Bronx was simply carrying out the law. Nor. even If we were to
admit that equalization of tax valuations required that thoee
of Manhaffan and tbe Bronx should be Increased something over
?327.nnft,f)nn. should it be assumed that the law was eqiiltablv
administered when so much of that total was pnt upon buslnesa
and bis-b-class. resldental nronerties In certain selected areas as
has been done. It is not only a question whether eoualizatlon has
been falrlv anplled in one bormiErb as' against aunfber. but alsn
whether it has been so applied throughout Manhattan itself. Tn
the lists of valuations of Individual prouerties given In another
column the increases are so large, particularly on office build¬
ings, as to materially change the problem on which the owners
had been induced to build, or were running their bnlldlngs: the
item' of taxes Is so suddenly and so dlsnronortlonately increased.
The solution of the owner's nroblem thus unfavorably modified. -
It is natural tn assume, must involve an increase In rents, so that
tbe dissatisfaction, now confined to owners, will spread to the '
tenant class. The noHcv assumed by tbe Tax Den a rtment towards
business prnnerty is likely also to affect development In this di¬
rection until it can be ascertained how far the extra expense fOr
taxes can be recouned through a rising scale of rents. These con¬
siderations are In no wise aifected by the knowledge that the
Increased assessments can be Justified by the terms of the
charter, or were made necessary by the pecuniary needs of the
munlcipalltv: nor is it any comfort now to know that they ar<?
a consequence of consolidation. On the contrary, these facts only
emphasize ai further fact brought out most prominently by the
assessment lists this week that the future burdens which con¬
solidation will entail must be mainly borne by realty within the
old boundaries of New York City and probably by that de¬
voted to commercial and business uses. The only comfort to be
found just now in this matter is that the increases in the valua¬
tions come at a time of commercial activity, when the demand
for office and otber business bousing has improved and when the
chances of making good in rents what is taken from income for
Increased taxes are better than they would have been had the
changes been made earlier. But for this the consequences must
have been much more serious than they are now likely to he.
though in many cases they will be serious enough even, though
they do n'ot involve fears of fatalities.
ATOTHEH- anxious question that the publication of the Tax
Valuations-raises Is, what will the tax rate be? At the
present time this question can only be approximately answered.
The requirements of a net budget of $86,500,000 on a real,.estate
valuation of $2,950,046,317 and a personal estate valuation of
!B.547,339,879, the figure at wTiIch the personal estate of the five
boroughs was valued at for TS98. or a total of ?!l,4!17.??Sfl,19fI, would