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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 65, no. 1662: January 20, 1900

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on a public job. What with his.known personal independence and the assistance of walking delegates and unions the workman is surely already suffieien'tly protected in this matter. 1 ESTABUSHED^ttJ "OEvfeiED TO RfA.L Estate . BuiLdiKg ^R,cKlTEeTUR,E ,Ho\JSErioili Demr^hot*. BifsitfEss AfJo Themes or GEjto^^l Wterjs],; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. I'iiblinhtd ei-n-i/ Satvrifan. TELEfiiONE, ■ Cortlandt 1370, Cominunications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. J. T. LINDSEY, Bimness Manager. 'Eniei-cd at the I'osl-Office at New Tork, N. Y., as second-clciss matter." Vol. XLV. JANUARY 20, 1900, No. 1662 The Index lo \'oliniie LXl V of the Record aud Guide, coi'ciing the period l)etwecH July 1st and Deeember 31s/, IS\}9, will he ready for delivery abmt the close of next weelc. Price, $1. This Index in H.s enlarged form is now reeognized as indispensable to everyone cngaged'or interested in real estate and bvildiny opera¬ tions. It covers all transactions—deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, building 2>lans filed, etc. Orders for the Lidex should be sent at once to the office of publication, 1-J and 16 Vesey Sired. f N the security markets the most satisfactory feature at the i. moment is the increasing demand for investment issues and the larger business in railroad bonds of all grades, and conse¬ quent moderate advance in auoted values therefor. But, while the easin'^ of money has encouraged these purchases, it has not yet created a speculative demand for stocks. In that line tbe business, after a spurt at the opening of -the week, became of a very humdrum character, though as a rule the moderate gains inade on the small spasm of activity were fairly well held. There is nothing discouraging in the situation as thus portrayed. Money is becoming cheap, and the drop in the Bank of England's rate of discount to 4M;% shows that that centre can now take care of Itself and we need not expect any further demands thence. While a moderate buyer of our securities, London has naturally heen made cautious by recent military history in South Africa, and will not come into the market largely until the issue of the war is determined or unless an upward movement engineered on this side invites speculative buying. Doubtless operators here .are deterred from going far by the fear that another casualty to British arms may make London again a heavy seller, hut with money cheap and business as encouraging as it is in every direction, ciuotations for our securities can hardly fail to ad¬ vance soon, even though the extent of the advance may be modi- fled by the conditions abroad. The two features of the week, ease of money and bond buying, are the same as have usually preceded an upward movement in stocks, and there is more reason to believe that these things have their ordinary sig- .nificance no-w than the contrary. AMONG the bills introduced into the Legislature appear some that have a distinctly familiar appearance and which con¬ tain provisions so bad that one may wonder at the regularity of their revival each year as the Legislature meets. These come from people mostly who prefer the individual—meaning their own—ideas on architectural construction, or from labor ■organizations which seem to- find some recreation and profit in repeating their extreme demands. A glance over our letter from Albany will show the presence of several very mischievous sug¬ gestions for legislation from these sources. As to the bills re¬ lating to the construction of buildings, wherever they propose to apply changes in this city they ought to be promptly pigeon- .holed or killed outright. The policy that would not allow any amendment to the building laws of this city until a Code Com¬ mission had been appointed and had reported, ought to be now extended to giving the Commission's work a fairly extended practical trial before any attempt is made to improve upon it. Assemblyman Eagan's bill to give liens for labor priority over any mortgage oh real estate is also one of mischievous tendencies. It is quite uncalled for by any loss that labor has to suffer through the opecation of existing laws, aud would do much more harm than good to the workman through disturbing the conditions under which real estate improvements are made. Another labor measure, that introduced by Assemblyman O'Connell, seeks to make contractors on public works responsible for the enforce¬ ment of the eight hour law by making it a misdemeanor to allow ihe dear workman to work more than eight hours in any one day The Tax Bill. "T" HE introduction of the Tax Bill into the Legislature this • week i>lace the discussion of the principle involved and the means proposed to give it effect on a practical basis, but aa sufficient time for their study has not elapsed public opinion thereon cannot yet be said to be formed. We think it will finally crystallize into approval of the measure, generally at least. Upon one point, that a reform of the tax laws is necessary with a view cf making ether forms cf property share the burden that has hitherto fallen almost wholly upon real estate, there is liardly any dispute. That has resolved itself into an accepted principle, so that really the only question to be decided is whether the bill of the I_egislative Tax Committee provides the best expression of that principle. To relieve the tax burden on realty the Com¬ mission prcpc'ses. and has so' expressed it in their bill, to tax banking capital, whether of individuals or corporations, and debts or obligations secured by mortgage on real estate without ex¬ ception as to individuals or corporations, residents or non-resi¬ dents. As to the tax on the flrst class of property we do not con¬ sider it necessary to say anything now. To the tax on realty mortgages two main ohjeotions have found expression. One is that, as this tax will eventually fall upon the borrower or mort¬ gagor, it is an additional tax on real estate instead of a relief; and the other that the machinery proposed in the bill for ascertain¬ ing the property and assessing the tax will work endless mis¬ chief. It is undoubtedly a fact that a tax on any article correspond¬ ingly heightens its cost; this rule will apply to money as well as to goods. It may be taken for granted, too, that wherever the terras of the mortgage give the mortgagee power to call upon the mortgagor io refund him any moneys paid out in taxation they will be enforced, except where such an act would imperil the mortgagee's investment without accompanying opportunity to make as good or a better one. If we take it that the tax will undoubtedly fall upon the mortgagor he will then have the in¬ terest on his mortgage increased by a half of one per cent., to offset which he will have a reduction of say about one-fourteenth iu the taxes on his property, that being the proportion of the taxes on realty of this year that goes to the State. According to this, unincumbered and very lightly mortgaged real estate will be benefited, while property mortgaged for say more than a third of its tax valuation will lose by the change. So far this makes a bad showing for the tax as a relief to real estate, but there still has to be considered the indirect benefit, if any, that may re¬ sult from the improved position and consequently better demand for mortgage investments, brought about hy a change in the law which gives them a position of certainty for one of uncertainty. Wherever and to what extent in a general way the tax falls upon the mortgagee, whether through his inability to compel the mortgagor to pay the tax or through a new loaner being willing to take the loan if called in spite of the tax, the thing will adjust itself distinctly to the benefit of the owner of the fee. In reading over the provisions of the bill it must occur to the reader that a simpler way of reaching mortgages for taxation could have been found which would be less open to objection than, that provided. Had it been required that the holder of any debt or obligation secured by mortgage on real estate should make return of his holding under penalty of possible sequestration for failure to do so, and with reward to the mortgagor for information given against defaulting mortgagees, every penny of live mortgage debt could doubtless be reached. As is well known, the records do not properly reflect the mortgage indebtedness of a com¬ munity^ because many mortgages that stand of record have been wiped out by foreclosures or disposed of in other ways, while the principal or interest of many others has been changed by endorsement or other form of agreement not on the records. There, therefore, exists the danger of the owner of a piece of property being made a party to proceedings to collect taxes in default upon mortgages of whose existence he had never pre¬ viously been aware. It will be seen by his statement in another column that the Register of New York County meets this objec¬ tion so far as his office is concerned. Still ignorance of the ante¬ cedents of his property, which may he assumed to be general among owners, may be the cause of much trouble and mischief should the bill pass in its present form. Evidence of satisfied or determined mortgages has to be given while the lists are being prepared, while in numerous eases the owner cannot know of them until they,have been included in the lists, and then only if he makes it his duty to search the lists for that purpose. Pro¬ vision is made for appeals against assessments, but they must be