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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 78, no. 2024: December 29, 1906

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December 29, 1906 RECORD AND GUIDE 1077 Devoted jo Rf\L EsTAji.BuiLDiffe Ap-cjIitectoi^e.KcwseHoid Degoratioi^, Bifsn^ESs AtfeThemes of GeKerrI IKter^st. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published etiery Saturdasi * Communications should he addressed to C. W. SWEET Downtown Office: 14-16 Vesey Street, New York Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 Uptown Oflice: 11-13 East 24th Street, New York Telephone, 4430 Mndlaon Square "Entered al the Tost Office at New York, N. Y,. as second-class iiialler." Vol. LXXVIIL DECEMBER 29, 190G. No. 2024 INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page Page Cement .....................xvll Lumber .......................xx Consulting Engineers .........viil Machinery .....................v Clay Products ..................x Metal Work ..................xvi Contractors and Builders......Hi Quiclc Job Directory........xxiii Electrical Interests Real Eslate ..................xl Fireproofing Roofers & Rooflng Mater'Is. .xxii Granite ....................xviii Stone.....................xviii Iron and Steel.................ix Wood Products ..............xx AS the year 1908 closes the stock market situation has improved. This week, as was naturally to be ex¬ pected, the fear of money stringency Is passing, and the dis¬ position to renew operations broadens. Should this bold¬ ness born of better feeling extend, it might run into a bull market In January. The outlook is a continuation of pros¬ perous conditions. There may be a currency measure before Congress promising permanent relief to the ever-recurrent currency difficulty. Further, we have a pretty well-liqui¬ dated stock market and a fair-sized short Interest. The pounding into almost insensibility that the stock market has undergone recently has apparently had good results. The market also benefited from other causes. The Bank of England's rate of discount remains unchanged at six per cent, and the bank's proportion of reserve to liabilities is still about the same. In the Wall Street money market there was also encouragement, lenders showing an increased willingness to accommodate borrowers at a moderate rate, one financial institution loaning large sums at six per cent. The cessation of liquidation in Great Northern preferred and Northern Pacific was likewise a favorable factor. Pay¬ ments against the new stock issue of $30,000,000 by the New York Central Railroad were made on Thursday last, and early next week there will be paid the initial instalment of $10,000,000 on account of the increase in the St. Paul share capital. Some advances have been made in railroad stocks including Union Pacific and Reading and industrial and kindred issues are also considerably higher. But what, after all, vitally interests real estate and building interests is this money question and we may revert to it again by stating that undoubtedly there is a turn for the better which may develop into easy conditions in a very short time, which is a "consummation devoutly to be wished" for all concerned in the use of this necessary commodity. IT is authoritatively announced that the report of the State Tax Commission will include among other things a recommendation for a graduated income tax; and evidence Is already accumulating that many excellent people are alarmed by the proposal. No discussion on the merits of the plan is possible until the details of the new hill and the reasons in its favor are submitted to the public; but even before that announcement, one warning is very much in or¬ der. The newspapers are asking why lay such a novel and burdensome tax when the State already has a surplus. This objection disregards the situation, which has made the Tax Commission necessary. The tax system of this State is de¬ moralized at present by the remnants of the old property tax, which is collected, so far as real estate is concerned, but from which personal property is largely exempt. The great tasTt of the Tax Commission was to do away with the ana¬ chronisms and inequalities, which result from this anti¬ quated property tax-, and to plan a scientific and equitable system of taxation both for the State and for the local gov¬ ernments. The scheme of the Commis,,ion must be con¬ sidered from this point of view: The time is ripe to substi¬ tute a consistent modern system of State and local taxation for the hodge-podge under which these revenues are now raised, aud it is most devoutly to be hoped that the Com¬ mission's plan will contain the essentials both of a fair and complete scheme of taxation and of popular acceptability. The makeup of the Commission seems to indicate that noth¬ ing either entirely impracticable or unscientific will be seri¬ ously proposed. Prof. Seligman is the leading authority of the United States in matters of taxation and would not lend himself to any plan which, at least, was not a manifest im¬ provement over the present system. Oa the other hand the Republican politicians on the Commission would probably be careful not to commit themselves to a proposal which would be likely to incur any widespread or violent unpopu¬ larity. Consequently New Yorkers must not become alarmed over the word "income-tax." How much the phrase will mean in the report of the Commission we do not know, but it may well mean that the taxation of personal property will hereafter be put upon a basis which will ex¬ tinguish existing inequalities, which wil! not bear heavily on a,ny single individual, and which will do something to re¬ lieve the burden now falling on real estate. ------------*------------ THE New York Times is doing a public service i)y con¬ stantly drawing attention to the method which, under its existing management, the local transit system is operated. It appears Irom the report of the Railroad Commissioners for the third quarter of this year that on certain divisions of the system a continued increase in the number of passengers has been accompanied by a further decrease in the car mile¬ age. On the surface lines, for instance, the cash fares in¬ creased by over 28,000, while the car mileage decreased by 1,123,895 miles. On the Manhattan division the cash fares increased by 6,277,160, while the car mileage decreased hy about 358,000 miles. The Subway was the only division on which a considerable increase of traffic, amounting to about 5,500,000 cash fares, was accompanied by an increase of the car mileage, but this increase in ail probability is merely the result of the increase in the amount of track opened for . traffic. The much-abused Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company is really the one corporation engaged in the business of carry¬ ing large numbers of passengers in this city, which is trying hard to Increase its service. The Interborough-Metropolitan Company continues its extraordinary policy of accommodat¬ ing an increasing traffic with a smaller car mileage. The com- . plaints of its passengers _are treated.with contempt, and its officials are indifferent to the public opinion which is being aroused a:gainst them. They behave as if their position was unassailable and that their responsibility in relation to the public was merely confined to avoiding the creation of an absolutely intolerable condition. It is obvious that they must be forced to recognize a closer and a heavier responsibility. The transit conditions were bad enough before the merger, but instead of improving since the merger, they have actually become worse. Public interest demands that the monopoly exercised by the consolidated company shall be checked and regulated by a local transit commission, with powers to com¬ pel obedience to Its orders. Such a commission should be carefully constituted, and should be made up, not of poli¬ ticians like the State Board, but of one lawyer and two rail¬ road experts, and it should have full powers and a sufficient appropriation really to get at the facts as to what increase of service can be safely provided. Governor-elect Hughes is committed to some legislation on behalf of the victims of the New York transit corporations, and it is very much to be hoped tliat he will recommend a bill of this kind. 'T^HE justices of the Supreme Court are quite right in ob- ■i- jecting strenuously to the way in which they are housed by the courts of New York. The old .County Court-house is a disgrace to New York, not merely because of its origin, but because of its situation and the accommodations it offers, and the sooner it can be torn down the better it will be for every person who has to use it. But it cannot be torn down until a new one is built; and the site for the new court-house has not as yet even been selected. Five years ago a commission was constituted for the purpose, .but it has been unable to agree upon a site, and the matter, consequently, is still hanging fire. The Commission should be re-constituted during the coming session of the Legislature, The old Commission con¬ sisted almost exclusively of lawyers; and their interests in re¬ spect to the new building were so divergent that they have not succeeded in accomplishing anything. The new Com¬ mission should -be composed only in part of lawyers. It should contain also business men, a real estate broker, an architect and an engineer.. .Such a body;of men could, in all