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IMPORTANT REPORT. We present in this number of the Gazette, a very important report, made by the Hon. MYNDERT VAN Schaick, of the city of New-York, Chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate of this state in 1835, in relation to Taxation. This report speaks for itself; it is able, and just such a report as we should look for from a practical business man like Mr. Van Schaick. During the recent session of the Legislature, this report was frequently referred to in the debates had upon the Tax Bill, a copy of which we present, and which follows Mr. VAN SCHAICK'S REPORT.
STATE OF NEW-YORK.
April 16, 1835.
REPORT of the committee on finance, in obedience to a reso
lution of the Senate of 9th February last. “ Resolved, That the committee on finance be instructed to inquire whether ground rents, extra rents, incomes from quarter sales, and interests in unlocated and undefined water-right reservations, are subject to taxation; and if they are not assessed and taxed in proportion to other property now by law subject to assessment and taxation, whether they ought not to be."
Mr. Van Schaick, from the committee on finance, to whom the foregoing resolution was referred, accompanied by sundry petitions from cititzens residing in the counties of Rensselaer and Albany, complaining of the exemption from taxation of the property described in the resolution, REPORTED:
That in accordance to the terms of the resolution, they have confined their investigations to two points :
Ist. Whether the property named is exempted from taxation :
2d. And if exempted, whether it should not be subjected to assessment and taxation :
The reservations contained in the leases which have been put into the hands of your committee, they describe as follows: “ Ground rents” are the sums and produce stipu
lated to be annually paid by the tenant. “ Extra rents." By this condition of the lease, the
lessor reserves the right to purchase the property at the price proposed by the tenant; but if the landlord refuses to purchase, and the tenant sells
to another, the estate is subject to one year's rent. “ Incomes from quarter sales.” The same right to
purchase being reserved by the lessor as in the preceding case; if he refuses, and the tenant sells to another, the landlord may claim a part of the price. This is understood to be usually fixed at one-quarter part of the purchase money, but it is
seldom exacted. « Water-right reservations." The leases reserve
all mines, minerals, kills, creeks, streams and runs of water, with the land under water, which the landlord may reclaim and occupy or sell ; and they also reserve the land which may be overflowed by water when it shall be dammed up; and they provide, as a compensation to the tenant for the land which may be occupied and employed for building mills, &c. an abatement of a reasonable and proportionate share of the rent reserved.
From this view of the conditions contained in the lease from which the explanation is taken, it will be seen that the rents reserved may all be classed under the simple denomination of income. Revenue or income from ground rent has the same character of personal property, as rents derived from the annual lettings of houses and stores. There is no reason for any distinction between them. Houses, stores and lands are assessed as real estate. The rent or income which they afford, becomes personal property as soon as it is received by the landlord, and as such, is liable to taxation, in the same manner as personal property of any other description is assessed and taxed, which is not specifically pointed out by law, and assessed upon its own amount, separate from the bulk of the personal estate to which it belongs.
It has been represented, that in consequence of lord has a right to re-enter on default of payment, the construction given to those sections of the Re- || but has no other security. vised Statutes which treat of the taxation of per “In each of these cases, the occupant will be tazed sonal estates, assessors have not felt authorised to in for the full value of the land as if the title were ab. clude the annual rents which a citizen may receive, solute : and as the land itself furnishes in each case in the estimate of the amount of his personal pro a security for the amount due to the vendor, mort. perty. The consequence is said to be, that many gagee or landlord, they will be taxed as for debis due persons who possess large rent-rolls, and no other from solvent debtors, to the whole amount of such personal property, escape taxation altogether; and in debts, if the land is sufficient security for the whole, other instances, their annual receipts from rents and if not, then to the extent of its value. If there being disposed of before the arrival of assessment is no other security, there will be cases of doublo day, landlords are not obliged to pay any tax upon taxation." this portion of their personal estate.
From this it appears that the Revisers supposed Your committee conceive the instances must be | that by the terms of the law as they reported it, and unfrequent, in which, if assessors discharge their the Legislature passed it, landlords wonld be taxed duty, individuals can escape the taxation of any con on “ debts due for rents of lands," as for “debts siderable portion of their personal estate, whether it due from solvent debtors," to the whole amount of consists exclusively, or only partially, of annual in such debts, “ if the land is sufficient security for the come. And though there must be exceptions to all whole, &c." general inferences deduced from complicated legal Now it is well known that the first and second enactments; yet they advance this opinion as par exemptions proposed by the revisers are not exticularly applicable to extensive and numerous pos cepted, but are included in assessments of personal sessions under lease, and which form a heavy aggre property, by the construction universally given to the gate amount of incomo belonging to one person.
law; and as the revisers argue their third proposiThus considering rents as liable to assessment, only tion under the conviction that debts due for rents of when they shall have become an annual acquisition lands, are debts due from solvent debtors, and as tho to a personal estate, your committee believe that third section of the statute includes debts due from assessors may estimate the amount of rents which solvent debtors on contract, in the enumeration of may have been received by a citizen during the year items which compose taxable personal estates, and preceding their valuation, and may call it so much as no exception whatever was made by the Legisla. personal property, in addition to the sum at which ture, it inevitably follows that the framers and enache had been rated at the previous assessment. This ters of the law intended that debts due for rents of method of proceeding, though it might not reach lands should be assessed as personal property. every known or supposable greviance, would obviate The revisers say in their third proposition, “when the most serious of the complaints which have been the landlord has a right to re-enter on default of payadvanced, that ground rents entirely escape taxation. ment, but has no other security;" then in cases In what other way can assessors follow the increase where the landlord has other security, it was not of a personal estate derived from rents ?
even proposed to make an exception. But these But your committee are inclined to indulge the cases are very few. Recovery by distress is usually opinion that rents arising on leases duly executed, the only, and is a sufficient security in regard to the may be assessed as debts due from solvent debtors rents that may be due on farms, because of the imon contract. That taxation of rents in this form provements made upon them; and a warrant of diswould fall upon the tenant by virtue of the condition tress is a certain reliance where expensive buildings of his lease, as appeared to be apprehended by the are erected on lots held under long leases. No other Senator who introduced the resolution, may consti. security is known to be asked or given except it tute a good reason, in the judgınent of the Senate, may oceasionally occur in cities where the lease infor refraining from any legislation for the purpose of cludes the tenement as well as the ground ; because explaining and enforcing the statute. But as we are in this case the tenant can remove his farniture or engaged in the investigation of a question unusually other property. The restriction, therefore, to a parimportant and difficult, it may be worth while to as ticular class of debts due for rents of lands, by certain how far this position can be substantiated. which the revisers intended to confine their third
By the Revised Statutes, vol. 1, page 387, chap. proposed exemption, can have but little application 13, property is made liable to taxation only in two to rents arising from lands under lease: And as the characters, those of real and personal estates. In whole recommendation is entirely disregarded in the the third section of this chapter, “chattels, debts statute, we must infer that the Legislatuae intended due from solvent debtors, whether on account, con- that all debts due for rents of lands should be astract, note, bond or mortgage, &c." are enumerated sessed, in the same manner as the items of personal among the subjects of taxation which are declared to property included in the two first proposed excepbe included in the terms personal property or es tions of the Revisers is now by that law assessed tates. Income and rents are not specified: but is and taxed, viz: "debts due for the purchase money not a lease a contract in law! and is not the rent of lands sold,” &c., and “ mortgages where the land annually accruing a debt due from a solvent debtor is the only security for the mortgage money." Are on that contract ? The language of the statute bears not those kinds of property both the subjects of tax. out this construction; and it appears to be confirmed ation? If they are, how can debts due for rents of by the manner in which the Revisers treat this lands escape ? Certainly not by force of the statute ; branch of the subject of taxation in their notes. for the three cases all stand in the same predicament The Revisers speak of "debts due for rents of in the third section, and the argument or construclands," as "debts due from solvent debtors ;” and tion that shall release one of them from assessment they suggest to the Legislature that certain of these and taxation, must release the whole; for debts due rents ought to be excepted from assessment, because on contract for rents of land are debts due from solthey are cases of double taxation. In this conclu. vent debtors, in the eye of the law, and are equally sion, which they put in the form of a question, the the subjects of taxation, as debts due for the purLegislature did not agree ; for that body enacted the chase money of lands sold, or as mortgages are. 1st title of the 13th chapter, without making the al If a lease duly executed is a contract of the deteration which the Revisers suggested. To furnish scription intended by the third section, then it must a perfect view of the argument which may be drawn be taxable the same as a mortgage given for land from the notes, it is necessary to transcribe those sold, and then it would, by a parity of reasoning. parts of them to which allusion is made.
fall on the principal, if the principal of a debt existed The kevisers say, “ But they cannot refrain from ||
in the body of a lease.
But this is not the opinion entertained by the Resubmitting the inquiry, whether, in the taxation of debts and mortgages, the following should not be ex
* visers, for they speak not of contracts of lease or the
principal of a debt, but of rents as being debts due cepted ?
from solvent debtors. The assessment must there" I. Debts due for the purchase money of lands sold,
fore be on the amounts of annual rents which are where the vendee is in possession, but where the
due, and not on a capital of which the annual rents title has not been conveyed, and there is no personal
shall represent the interest. or other security for the debt.
If this reasoning is not sufficient to establish the “2. Mortgages, where the land is the only secu- || fact, that assessors in the towns and wards where rity for the mortgage money.
lessors reside, may assess rents as debts due from “3. Debts due for rents of lands, where the land solvent debtors, it is presumed to be at least suffi
cient to justify assessors in making a computation of is an exception to the general rule. This law grew the annual rents received by landlords on contracts out of a peculiar state of affairs in a section of the of lease, and to include such computation in the country in which lands, and contracts for the sale of general estimate of their personal estates. Perhaps lands, are owned by foreigners. The Connecticut the statute requires some explanation, for it must be School Fund, which is understood to be principally inferred from the tenor of the law, and the notes of loaned in this State, was exempted from its operation the Revisers, that it was not intended by the Legis in the session of 1834. This, therefore, is not an exlature that a vast amount of personal property, under ample applicable to ourselves, for in all cases of the denomination of rents, should escape taxation. double taxation on the property of citizens, it is inci. The above process will, however, cure all defective dental, not designed; a consequence of the compli. valuations of personal estates connected with lands cation of business and of the defects of human inunder lease. No legal objection can be made to the stitutions, and not a principle sanctioned by the deoperation, and its equity cannot be disputed. Land liberate judgment and direction of enlightened legislords who duly appreciate their advantages will not lation. object to their being taxed in this manner to the full We have seen that the Revisers endeavored to get extent of their yearly income, in addition to their rid of double taxation in three spccified cases. Their other personal estate in possession, as all parties have proposition did not succeed, evidently because the the right of reducing excessive assessments under the cases of double taxation could not be separated from provisions of the 15th section of the 2d article of the those of single taxation, as in a bond and mortgage. chapter before referred to.
How, in the management of assessments, can disBut from the justice and equity of charging a lease criminations be made between mortgages for money with taxation upon a capital, of which the annual loaned and those given as a part of the price of land rent represents the interest, your committee entirely sold ? In the first case, the tax on both is single as dissent, not only for the reason already assigned from to each, because the consideration existed independthe notes of the Revisers, but because there is no ent of the land. In the other, the mortgage is a analagous case or provision of law to support the doc debt created on the sale of the land, and both the trine. The only case in which it is pretended that a mortgage and the land being taxed for their full precedent exists, is that of a mortgage. It is said value, the taxation on the land is double for the that $5,000 of annual rents are as valuable as $5,000 amount of the mortgage. In justice, the amount of of interest on a bond. There is no similarity be the mortgage should be deducted from the valuation tween a capital raised and created by calculation, of the land unless the purchaser possesses personal und the capital of a bond and mortgage ; because, property. In this event, he may deduct the debt he though a mortgage is a lien upon the land, and it owes on the mortgage from the amount of personal may be admitted that a lease constitutes a lion of no property at which he is assessed, and then there will less force and efficacy, yet an essential distinction ex be no double taxation even in the case proposed. But ists in their character and products. Upon a fore should his personal property be less than the debt, closure, the means to pay a mortgage are procured his taxation will be double on the difference beby a sale of the land, and the capital remains entire ; tween them. Inequalities in taxation then, are inwhereas a lease in the event of non-payment of the cident to the business of life, and are not sought to rent, reverts back to the landlord. In this condition be imposed by our system of law. the computed capital is extinguished; the rent that Is there in reality any evil in long or perpetual may remain unpaid, must be satisfied by distress. | leases; and if mischief lurks beneath their folds, is In most cases, it becomes necessary to negotiate a the evil of such magnitude as to require that the new lease before the foundation can be laid on which principle of double taxation should now first be into compute a new capital. But the dissimilarity be- troduced into our statute book, and a capital be tween those two descriptions of property is obvious | raised by computation of the rent of a lease for the in this, that the mouey payable on a lease bears no purpose of imposing the tax ? If any doubt remains interest; it is therefore not capital, while it exists as on the mind of the Senate as to the correctness of anpaid rent, while interest accumulates upon a bond that construction of the Revised Statutes which perand mortgage, and like rent is payable at fixed days. mits the taxation of rents as debts due from solvent In this respect, rent is equivalent to the interest on a debtors on contract, or by estimating, in the manner bond and mortgage. but not to its principal. A mort suggested, their annual amount; and if it should apgage has the land, a principal and interest attached pear to be just and necessary to make a distinction to it. A lease has the land and rent; the principal between long and short leases and annual incomes is wanting.
from rent, and to impose taxation exclusively on It may be further remarked, that rent arising upon leases having twenty-one years or more to run from the lease of a farm, must, in numerous instances, be the date of their execution, or on the capital thereof, earned from the soil by the labor of the tenant be in conformity with the views entertained by the Senafore it has existence as property. You would not tor who moved the resolution, a bill might be tax as capital what does not exist as rent. The prin bronght in to accomplish that object. cipal of a mortgage represents the land itself; the However confidently your committee might be rent on a lease represents the produce of the land ; inclined to maintain the coustruction which they can a capital, having no existence, and bearing no in have given to the statute, they are aware that it may terest, be created out of unearned rent, or is a lease be assailed both in regard to its accuracy and as to its a substantive chattel or estate, like a mortgage which sufficiency in reaching the object desired ;* they will is given most usually in consideration of money therefore proceed to observe, that if it were proloaned, or of a debt for which value has been re posed to levy a general income tax, the questions to ceived by the mortgagor. The argument is not ex be discussed would not be difficult of solution. But tended to the case of a mortgage given in part pay your committee have no reason to suppose, that it ment of the purchase money of land, because here was the design of the Senate that the subject should the mortgage is destitute of a consideration independ. be presented in that form, though it is the undisent of the land, and it appears to be a decided case puted mode in which a tax on ground rents receiv. of double taxation; but in reality, the mortgagor able on long or perpetual leases can be imposed with may set off his debt on the mortgage against his per safety to the interest of the tenant, and with justice sonal tax, and if he possesses personal property to to the landlord. A general income tax would inthe amount of his debt, there is no double taxation. clude not only long and short leases, and the annual
The foundation principle of the law of taxation is, lettings of all tenements and farms on shares, but that all property shall contribute in proportion to its also a great variety of incomes received for servalue. The exemptions which the statute allows, vices rendered. A measure so odious was not conare in favor of specified items of property belonging templated by the resolution or by the petitioners. to the institutions of learning, charity, religion, &c. The object appears to be limited to the procurement But in regard to estates not exempted, the legisla of a law, the provisions of which shall be directed lation of this State has admitted inevitable excep- against a certain class of leases and estates. tions only to the general rule of equal taxation, and As the proposed tax is not intended to apply to all these are not exemptions, but cases of double taxa leases, those having from one to twenty-one years to tion. Our laws have not established double taxation run, as well as to such as are given on lives or withas a principle. The case of debts owing, on con out limitation of time, it would be necessary to detracts for the sale of lands belonging to non-residents, fine and fix a period by law within which contracts (Lawe, session of 1833, chapter 250,) furnishes the only instance of direct legislation on the subject, and
*NOTE--On a careful revision of this argument, it is believed to be impossible to deny its conclusiveness."
of lease shall be exempt from assessment, and beyond which they shall be subject to assessment and taxation. Out of such a law a question would arise of deep importance to all tenants holding under that class of long leases which are guarded by strong and comprehensive covenants for the payment of taxes.
The bill to be brought in with the intention to tax the computed capital of leases, would be drawn as suggested to your committee by the mover of the resolution, in this form.
“ All income upon ground rent reserved upon permanent leases, or leases having twenty-one years or more to run from the date of their execution, shall be denominated personal property, and be liable to assessment and taxation, in the same manner that money secured by bond and mortgage is assessed and taxed.”
This description would probably include all the cases to which the petitioners call the attention of the Legislature. But if such a law should be passed, it would still remain a question who is bound to pay the tax, the landlord or the tenant. It will be seen, from the transcripts of the covenants which your committee now furnish, from two leases belonging to that particular class of contracts against which the law is desired to operate, that the covenants are unusually comprehensive, inasmuch as they provide against legislative enactments, whether they are directed against the property in possession of the tenant or against the lessors in their individual characters.
In the Van Rensselaer leases the covenants declare, that “the tenant will also well and truly discharge and pay all taxes, charges and assessments, ordinary and extraordinary, taxed, charged or assessed, and which may hereafter be taxed, charged or assessed to or upon the said hereby granted premises, or upon any part or parcel thereof, or upon the said Stephen Van Rensselaer, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, by any act of the Legislature or any legal authority for and in respect of the said premises, or any part thereof: and indemnify the said Stephen Van Rensselaer, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, against any damages, costs and charges which he or they, or any part of them, may sustain or be put to, by reason of any neglect in the due and punctual discharge and payment of the said taxes, charges and assessments."
Your committee have also been furnished with an extract, in pencil, from a Livingston manor lease, in which the covenant for the payment of the taxes runs as follows: " which rent is to be paid without any deduction or abatement of or for any manner of taxes, charges, assessments or impositions whatsoever, that have been or shall be taxed, charged, assessed or imposed upon the hereby demised premi ses, or any part thereof, or upon the party aforesaid of the second part, his heirs or assigns, for or in respect thereof, by any power or authority whatso ever."
The expressions in both these covenants, intended as it is certain they were to protect the landlord against legislative action, in regard to the imposition of taxes upon his reserved rights, by covenanting in this peculiar manner with the tenant, would appear to be sufficient for that purpose, if by a special law those rights were clearly indicated as the objects of taxation."
The question to be propounded would be whether a tax on a capital raised by computation from the income of the land, and levied on the landlord, would be a tax “ for or in respect of the said premises or any part thereof," for which, and for any damages resulting therefrom, indemnity is to be made by the tenant.
It might be argued that a tax laid on a capital, of which the annual rent represented the interest, was imposed either upon a fictitious capital or upon an agregation of rents sufficient to form the capital. A fiction can not be taxable, and an assessment founded upon the proceeds which are to be derived at some future period from the cultivation of the soil or from the use of a tenement can scarcely be considered in any other light than an imposition for or in respect of the premises. Does not a capital so col. lected together, the existence of which is anticipated, in reality reside in the land ? If it have existence, where can it be found ? Not in the lease, nor in the coffers of the lessor! It must be in the land.
Until the legal interpretation of the convenants
shall have been discussed and carefullyi examined, it | tax upon the landlord, under the conviction that he
As the landlord may claim restoration of all mill With the voluntary contracts of individuals, made streams, and appropriate them to his own use, or sell according to law, the Legislature have no power to in them to another, the tenure by which they are held terfere. If the consequence of our legislation, in the is considered in effect, that of sufferance merely. manner proposed, should be to throw an unexpected Your committee are informed, that assessments on burthen upon the tenant, the design of the resolution this description of property are made on the same would not only be defeated, but the act would recoil rates as to its value, as are made on the other parts upon the petitioners themselves.
of the estate covered by the lease, and that the prac*For these reasons, your committee do not feel pre- || tice of estimating a mill stream as possessing no pared to assume the responsibility of proposing a || higher value than the adjoining lands has generally measure which they might not possess the ability to obtained in the county of Rensselaer. This valuaadvocate or defend. But if they shall be instructed tion of a mill stream is supposed to be too low comby the commands of the Senate, they will cheerfully pared with its intrinsic worth. It is said that the bring in a bill conformably to the views which may practice appears to have taken its rise from the conbe entertained by a majority of its members.
sideration that the tenant having possession merely, In regard to the operation of a tax law, such as but no higher interest in a water right, should not be the petitioners seem to apply for, upon contracts of taxed for any more than the whole estate included lease to be made hereafter, your committee beg leave within the boundaries given in the lease, is worth, to observe, that they suppose the tax would in all upon estimation of it as if the territory was all land, cases eventually fall upon the land.
and no mill stream existed. In this way, the actual The rents arising upon annual lettings or short and existing difference in the value between the leases of estates, are as valuable as those which rates at which mill streams and water rights are now accrue upon perpetual or long leases; and therefore assessed, and the sums they would sell for to pay the taxation upon both should be equal: There is no just debt of a solvent debtor, escapes taxation. This reason in nature or justice, why a distinction should difference is supposed to be an estate existing in the be made between them. But it is objected to this, lessor, and not in the tenant, and it is inferred that it that if you tax annual rents, or those accruing upon should be assessed as real estate belonging to the short leases, the lessor will make a covenant with lessor. the tenant, that the latter shall pay the tax. Will not The division of one piece of property into two the same consequences ensue in relation to long kinds of estate, each taxable for its relative proporleases ? And if the bargain or article of agreement tion of the value of the whole, would require almost is binding in the one case, can its legal force be over too nice a discrimination to be applicable to the practhrown by legislation in the other. You may limit tical affairs of life. But the Revised Statutes ordain the tenure of such leasehold estates as may be " that all lands and personal estate within this State created hereafter; but you cannot take away the fee shall be liable to taxation." Vol. 1, page 387, D 1. or the possession from the rightful owner: so you And on page 389, 2d section, it is declared that the may ordain what shall constitute a valid bargain, upon land may be assessed in the name of the owner or the principles of moral justice, but an agreement occupant; and at page 393, 17th section, it is ordered made in conformity with law, no power can annul. " that all real and personal estate liable to taxation, If this course of reasoning is just, then it must be &c. shall be estimated by the assessors at its full admitted that a covenant can as well be inserted in a value, as they would appraise the same in payment long as in a short lease, which shall throw the tax of a just debt due from a solvent debtor." on rents upon the tenant. And it follows that con These provisions would seem to render further tracts for the payment of taxes can be agreed upon legislation on this point unnecessary, as there is between upon the lessor and lessee, which shall en ample power to assess all real estate upon the tenant, cumber the tenant with the taxation on the rents of if the possession is in him, or upon the landlord, if the land, with the same certainty that they oblige the reservations excepted out of the grant, which him to pay the taxes on the land itself. The neces
the lease purports to convey, are so broad and consary deduction from this position must be, that in re clusive as to leave not even a possessory right in the gard to contracts of lease to be made after the pas tenant, but retain in the landlord an exclusive and sage of a law taxing rents arising on long or per absolute estate in the premises excepted. petual leases, covenants will be contrived to suit the To adjudicate upon points so complicated and improvisions of the law, and the tenant will then as portant as these, it would be necessary to inquire now, make his bargain in the best way he can, tak whether the grant by the boundaries, conveyed pos. ing into consideration the rent and taxes he agrees session of the parts excepted, including of course to pay on the one hand, and the benefits he may ac the water rights, and whether the tenant could mainquire from the undisturbed possession of the land on tain an action of trespass against an intruder on those the other. It is therefore not perceived that any ad rights. Besides these, other questions of law would vantage whatever is to be gained for the general arise which could be decided with due discretion weal, by the proposed alteration in the principle of only after an impartial hearing by the proper tributaxation, as it is laid down in the Revised Statutes, nal. in so far as the law to be enacted may operate upon Whether, therefore, the owner is liable to taxation contracts of lease to be made after its passage. “An on the reservations in the first instance, or whether increase of taxation, whoever paid by, is in fact only the occupant is liable, or whether if liable as occuan increase of burthen upon the productive labor of pant, he has redress back upon the owner, are also the country. Free trade, small expenditures and questions of law to be determined by the judicial universally light taxation, must be the leading prin | tribunals. The judgment to be rendered would be ciples of every government which truly consults the best interests of the greatest number of people. But
governed by the construction to be given to the co
| venants for the payment of taxes. It would be proequality in taxation, though it is clearly impossible per to consider the import of the language, the into accomplish it in all cases, is really just and desira tention of the parties, and the character of the ble; and your committee are not indisposed to ac clauses which specify and except certain reservations cede to any proposal calculated to produce this effect out of the grant, as it is described and conferred by wherever inequality exists. Landlords and tenants the boundaries. But as the statute has made proviare already liable to taxation upon their personal as sion for the assessment and taxation of every descripwell as real estates. If the whole of those estates tion of real estate, there can be no necessity for any are not included in assessments, it must be the fault | further legislation on this branch of the subject. of the assessors. If it is intended to lay a special To the complaint that estates under lease are as
sessed at a low rate, it may be answered that the statute contemplates no distinction between leasehold and freehold estates in the valuations at which they are to be assessed and charged with taxation.
Your committee are informed that the practice in the city of New-York corresponds with this opinion, and that no distinction is there made between estates held under lease or in fee. They are both assessed as if the estate was absolute and the land unincumbered; and such undoubtedly was the intention of the revisers and of the Legislature, for in their notes before quoted the revisers say: “In each of these cases the occupant will be taxed for the full value of the land as if the title were absolute." It is impossible for hnman ingenuity to exhibit a reason why an estate held under a limited tenure, should be assessed at a diminished rate on that account, if it be admitted as it certainly must be, according to law and the practice of the whole country, that a freehold cannot be appraised at less than its value, because it is subject to a mortgage. As this is the settled and only true construction of the law, assessors can have no right to reduce the value of an estate because it is a leasehold, or held by an uncertain tenure. But as they commit a much less excusable infraction of law very generally throughout the country in regard to estates held in fee, by undervaluing them one-half or two-fifths, there will be no sufficient reason why a new law should be passed to enforce true valuations of lands held under lease, until it be shown that this construction of the statute is erroneous, and that its language does not convey the intention which the revisers have attributed to the section to which their comment relates.
The Revised Statutes contemplate every estate as existing for taxable purposes, either in the name of the owner or occupant, and to be assessed either to the one or the other; and if unoccupied and not owned by a resident of the county in which the estate lies, then it may be assessed to the owner as a non-resident.
Water is not taxable, but a water course suitable for the employment of a mill confers upon the adjoining property a value distinct from the intrinsic worth of the soil. The two values are blended into one. Any tax laid upon this estate can be collected from the owner or from the occupant; and if default be made in its payment, the property can be sold in discharge and satisfaction of the debt which has been thus incurred, by pursuing the course pre scribed in the statute.
Your committee concur in opinion as to the two following propositions : That ground rents may be included in the yearly estimate and assessment of personal estates, the amount of the assessment being subject to reduction by the oath of the owner, as in all other cases of assessments on personal property. That water right reservations are liable to assessment and taxation, like every other real estate, to their full value, to be ascertained in the manner prescribed in the statute, and that no regard is to be paid to the tenure by which they are held, but the valuations must be made upon the property as if the title were absolute.
The policy of prohibiting the creation of estates by the instrumentality of long or perpetual leases having been committed to another committee, the finance committee have not felt at liberty to approach that subject.
poses, passed May 13, 1846.
in Senate and Assembly do enact as follows : 01. Distress for rent is hereby abolished.
The 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th sections of the 4th title of the ist chapter of the 2d part of the revised statutes are hereby repealed. ,
$ 3. Whenever the right of re-entry is reserved and given to a grantor or lessor in any grant or lease in default of a sufficiency of goods and chattels wheron to distrain for the satisfaction of any rent due, such re-entry may be made at any time after default in the payment of such rent; provided 15 days previous notice of such intention to re-enter, in writing, be given by such grantor or lessor, or his heirs or assigns, to the grantee or lessee, or his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, notwithstanding there may be a sufficiency of goods and chattels on the lands, granted or demised
for the satisfaction thereof. The said notice may be
Passed May 13, 1846. The People of the State of New York, represented iu Senate and Assembly do enact as follows:
01. It shall be the duty of the assessors in each town and ward, while engaged in ascertaining the taxable property therein, by diligent inquiry to ascertain the amount of rents reserved in any leases in fee, or for one or more lives or for a term of years exceeding twenty-one years, and chargeable upon lands within such town or ward, which rents shall be assessed to the person or persons entitled to receive the eame as personal estate, which it is hereby declared to be for the purpose of taxation under this act, at a principal eum, the interest of which at the legal rate per annum shall produce a sum equal to such annual rents; and in case such rents are payable in any other thing except money, the value of such annual rents in money shall be ascertained by the assessors, and the same shall be asssessed in manner aforesaid.
0 2. The board of supervisors in each county shall assess the taxes to be raised for town county, and state purposes, upon the person or persons entitled to receive such rents within the town or ward where the lands upon which rents are reserved are situated, in the same manner and to the same extent as any personal estate of the inhabitants of such town.
03. If such tax shall not be paid, the collector shall levy the same by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of the person against whom the same is assessed, within the town or ward of such collector, in the same manner as if such person was an inhabitant of such town or ward.
04. When it shall appear by the return of any collector made according to law, to a county treasurer, that any tax imposed upon the provisions of this act remains unpaid, such county treasurer shall issue his warrant to the sheriff of any county where any real or personal estate of the person upon whom such tax is imposed may be found, commanding him to make of the goods and chattels and real estate of such perBon the amount of such tax, together with one dollar for the expense of issuing such warrant, and to return the said warrant to the treasurer issuing the same, and to pay to him the money which shall be collected by virtue thereof by a certain time therein to be specified, not less than sixty days from the date of such warrant.
Ø 5. Such warrant shall be a lien upon and shall bind the real and personal estate of the person against whom the same shall be issued from the time an actual levy shall be made by virtue thereof; and the sheriff to whom such warrant shall be directed, shall proceed npon the same in all respects with the like effect, and the same manner as prescribed by law in respect to executions against property issued by a county clerk upon judgments rendered by a justice of the peace, and shall be entitled to the same fees for his services in executing the same, to be collected in the same manner.
0 6. In case of the neglect of any sheriff to return such warrant according to the directions therein, or to pay over any money collected by him in pursuance thereof, he shall be proceeded against in the supreme court by attachment, in the same manner, and with like effect, as for similar neglects in reference to nn execution issued out of the supreme court in a civil suit, and the proceedings thereon shall be the same in all respects.
07. If any such warrant shall be returned unsatisfied in whole or in part, the county treasurer, under the direction of the board of supervisors of his county, may file a bill in his name of office in the court of chancery, whatever may be the amount so remaining unsatisfied, against the person against whom such warrant was issued, and any other person having the possession of his property, for the discovery and sequestration of such property. And on the filing of such bill, the court of chancery shall order such part of the property of the person upon whom the tax specified in the said warrant was imposed, as shall be necessary for the purpose of satisfying the taxes in arrear and imposed as aforesaid, with the cost of prosecution, to be sequestered, and may order and direct such other proceeding as may be necessary to compel the payment of such tax and costs.
CITY CONVENTION. We call the attention of the State Convention to The act of the Legislature providing for calling a the following Bill, and also to that portion which is italicized, in the si.cth section, and to the necessity of
City Convention was passed by the Legislature on the providing in the Constitution that a legislative Bill in its details shall be in accordance with its tille. At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen on the 18th We shall refer to this subject again.
of May, 1846, the following proceedings were had : STATE OF NEW-YORK.
“ Communication from the Deputy Secretary of No. 415.
State, transmitting the following acts, recently passed IN ASSEMBLY,
by the legislature, viz:
April 10, 1846. “An Act for calling a Convention to revise the char-
(Also four other acts which are named.)
“All of which were directed to be printed and orderin senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
ed on file.” Section 1. The mayor of the city of New York In two weeks from that date the election took place may, in his discretion, in lieu of receiving bonds for alien passengers arriving at the port of New-York, as
-but a very few votes were polled---next to noneprovided in section two of the act hereby amended, only 22 days between the passage of the act and the require of every master or commander of any ship
The following are the names of the persons said to
DELEGATES TO THE CITY CONVENTION. suffered to land from such ship or vessel, at any place
CONVENES JULY 6, 1846. during such her last voyage, or have been put on board,
To frame a Bill for amending the City Charter.
FIFTH WARD. master or commander shall refuse or neglect to pay
Emanuel B. Hart, Lyman Candee. such amount for each of such passengers, within three days after such vessel shall have so arrived at the port
SIXTH WARD. of New-York, every master or commander, and the Shivers Parker,
Robert H. Maclay, Charles H. Dougherty. every such person, not being a citizen of the United
Richard T. Compton, James B. Greenman, the act hereby amended, in reference to similar de
David A. Fowler.
Elijah F. Purdy, Bernard J. Meserole. keepers of such houses on baggage, luggage, or other
ELEVENTH WARD. articles, as they shall consider advisable.
Abraham Hatfield, William Gage,
Abraham V. Williams.
James H. Cook, Daniel D. Briggs. emigrants, and in regard to the licensing of said
FOURTEENTH WARD. agents, runners and other persons herein before men Edward S, Innes, Stephen Hasbrouck. tioned, as they shall deem proper. 0 4. The said mayer, aldermen and commonalty,
FIFTEENTH WARD. are also authorized and empowered to affix penalties
E. C. Benedict,
Henry E. Davies. to the violation of any such ordinance, provided always
Theodore Martine, Edmund J. Porter. space of sixty days, or a fine of two hundred and fifty
SEVENTEENTH WARD. dollars or both such fine and imprisonment.
Frederick R. Lee, Robert B. Boyd,
George W. Varian, Henry A. Beach.
CITY CONVENTION.--The assembling of a City be discharged from any vessel at quarantine, and said Convention to frame a charter for New-York, while corporation shall have full power to regulate the rates the State Convention have the great subject of relievof wharfage charged upon all goods of vessels dis ing the people from the abuses of city monarchies charging in, at or upon any wharf, pier or slip in before them seems to be labor lost, and besides the said city.
election of June 1st, amounts to next to nothing-it 97. This act shall take effect immediately,
is trifling with an important matter.
THE STRANGER'S GRAVE.
when told that the caprice or the cupidity of the EXTENSION OF ALBANY STREET THROUGH living is about to open a new avenue for selfishness
TRINITY CHUCRH YARD. through the ashes of his deceased friends. The coin.
His Honor Mayor Havemeyer, on the last day of mittees which have reported the resolutions I am conSTATED MEETING.
his term of office as Chief Magistrate of the city of sidering, admit that this feeling should not be lightly
New-York, honored his good name, honored the office BOARD OF ASSISTANT ALDERMEN. outraged, nor the repose of the dead carlessly invaded,
he had so ably filled, honored the city over the goMonday, May 11, 1846. but they justify the measure in this instance on the
vernment of which he had so successfully presided, ground of public necessity. The following message was received by his Honor
in returning to the Board of Assistants a resolution
If it be true that public necessity demands, as the the Mayor, returning with his objections the resolu
which had originated in that body directing procommittee have reported, more direct communication ceedings to be commenced for extending Albany tions for opening Albany Street to Broadway
between the East and North Rivers below Liberty Street through Trinity Church Yard-with an inOrdered to be published and entered at length on
Street than now exists, and if it be satisfactorily shown timation in writing ihat their proceedings were the minutes. 0. S. BARTLES, Clerk. that such an avenue cannot be obtained otherwise than
wrong, and that he could not therefore give them MAYOR'S OFFICE, }
by cutting through a graveyard, then indeed the sensi his sanction and approval.
bilities of surviving friends and relatives for the repose New-York, May 11, 1846.
His sleep will be sweeter; his remaining days of loved remains should give way to stern necessity. more blissful; and his last moments more tranquil To the Hon. the Common Council.
But I have not ascertained from the reports of the for this good service which he has rendered to the Gentlemen-I return herewith the resolutions pass committees submitted to me, or the action of the silent dead, to his fellow creatures yet alive, and to ed by the Aldermen and Assistant Aldermen, on the Boards, that the proposition to widen Thames Street millions yet unborn. 27th of April, 1846, directing the Counsel of the will not accomplish all that the public interests require. We give in this number of our paper, a copy of Corporation to adopt the necessary measures for Indeed, my present impression is in favor of this as the Mayor's Veto Message, which has been kindly
the betier plan of the two suggested. So far as conopening a street through the northerly part of Trinity
furnished us for publication by one of our good citiChurch yard. cerns the disturbance of the grave yard when urged,
zens. as in itself a conclusive objection to the proposed The objections to extending Albany Street through The interest excited by the action of the Common
improvement, it appears the committee have overruled Trinity Church Yard is, that it violates the rights of Council on this subject, the discussions which it has
it after full consideration, and their conclusion has sepulchre, that it is in violation of the laws of nature, occasioned, the character of the citizens advocating
been approved by the Common Council. I would that it violates that provision of the fundamental law and opposing the proposed alteration, and the conclu
not, therefore, on this ground alone reverse or ques. which guarantees to every citizen specific rights sions of the committees by whom this subject has
tion their action in the matter I am considering, but that pertain to matters of conscience. been considered, have led me to reflect even with
I regard the special reference to the same committee There are also objections to the proceedings on unusual care on these resolutions. But with a sincere
of the remonstrances relating to the subject, contain: other grounds, which we will state in their order, as desire to aid in every important public improvement,
ing a suggestion for widening Thames Street instead follows: to which my official sanction may be asked, and an
of carrying out the measure first proposed, as a declar- First. The act of April 9, 1813, under which the .unfeigned reluctance to impede the legislative action
ation by the Board of Aldermen that they were not proceedings are claimed to be entertained, was reof the Common Council by the exercise of the super
willing to disturb the grave yard, until it had been pealed and abrogated by Sec. 13 of Art. 7 of the visory power over their proceedings vested by the
ascertained that no other mode existed to effect the Constitution of 1821, as being repugnant to Sec. 7 of Charter in the Mayor, I am yet compelled to with
desired improvement. Whether this was the case or Art. 5, Sec. 7 of Art. 4, and Sec. 13 of the same hold my approbation from the resolutions above men
not is the exact question referred to the committee, Art. of the Constitution of this State. tioned.
and upon which no report, meeting the obvious pur-1 Second. That the act passed by the General AsThe history of the resolutions is as follows: On
poses of the reference, has been made. So important sembly of the Colony of New York, entitled “ An the 17th November, 1845, two reports concerning the has it been deemed by the Common Council that their
| act confirming unto the city of New-York its rights proposed street were presented from the Committee committees should fully inform them of the means and privileges, passed Oct. 14, 1732, was repealed on Streets to the Board of Assistants. A majority re by which they reach the conclusions presented in their by the general repealing clause of vol. 3, of the R. port in favor of the measure, and a minority report report, that every committee is required, by the rules Statutes of the State of New-York, which repealed against it.
of each Board, to accompany their opinion on every | all acts of the Colony of New-York not previously They were severally laid on the table and ordered matter referred to them with a statement of the repealed, to be printed. On the first of December, 1845, the facts on which such opinion rests.
Third. That section 177 of the Act of April 9, majority report was taken up and adopted. On the When the Board of Aldermen treated the remon 1813, pages 408 and 9, of vol. 2, of the Revised 8th of December, 1845, the Board of Aldermen re strances against opening Albany Street and the sug Laws, was repealed by sections 7 and 15 of chapter ferred the report to their committee on streets. On gestion to widen Thames Street as a substitute mea 122 of the laws of 1830. the 29th of December, 1845, that comunittee reported sure, as worthy of being specially referred, they imin favor of concurring with the Board of Assistants, posed upon that committee the duty of investigating adding a resolution requiring the persons interested all the suggestions of the remonstrances.
AWFUL TORNADO AT GRENADA.
They do in the proposed alteration to indemnify the city against
The following statement and appeal has been not in their report state any facts, nor even give their the expenses of the preliminary steps for its effectua
issued by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the opinion on the measure last mentioned. although that tion, if it should be defeated in the Supreme Court.
desolated village of Grenada. It was indeed, says was one of the strongest points on which the remonThis report was on the same day, referred back to
the Meinphis Eagle, a most terrible visitation, a strances rested. the committee with all remonstrances and accompa
calamity that in one hour made desolate a beautiful
While, therefore, as I have before stated, I defer to nying papers, for further consideration, the remon
village, sweeping off many of its people, and shroudstrants not only objecting to what they deemed a
the judgment of the Common Council in disregarding ing its streets in death, and wailing anguish. Surely desecration of a burying place, but also insisting that
the objection to opening Albany Street merely because do these mourning and deeply scourged people dethe widening of Thames Street would in every view,
of its disturbing a burial place, on the ground that, in serve not only the sympathies of our hearts, but also be more desirable for the ends expected in the project
this respect, any sympathies I might have, must yield that generous sympathy which is calculated in a recommended by the committee. On the 27th April,
to the decision of legislative bodies, acting within the greater degree to alleviate the want and destitution 1846, this committee made a second report, adhering
scope of their authority, and upon full investigation which the awful calamity has visited upon so many to their former conclusion, but without in any way
of the matter to which the decision relates, I must of them. referring to the suggestion of the remonstrants as to withhold my approval from their last action on the
TO THE PUBLIC. widening Thames Street. The resolutions mentioned subject under consideration, because I am unable,
In consequence of the appalling calamity which in the opening of this communication were then passfrom an attentive examination of all the papers cou
has come upon our town, destroying the lives of nected with that subject to perceive that the practicaod by a bare majority in the Board of Aldermen.
many of its citizens, leaving houseless and in utter From the mass of papers submitted to me in conbility or propriety of widening Thames Street, as a
destitution and want a large portion of its inhabitmeasure less objectionable than the other, has been nexion with this matter, it plainly appears that the
| ants, we have been appointed by the sufferers, to adconsidered by the committee who were expressly proposed measure has been very actively contested.
dress a generous and humane community in their | charged with its consideration. The remonstrance of property owners have been pre
behalf. sented as well as the objections of those who have
I have legs hesitation in returning, with my objec We feel that a simple statement of the facts will ancestors or friends buried in Trinity Church yard. tions, the resolutions for opening Albany Street than accomplish this object.
On Thursday, the 7th inst. about half past 2 I would feel if the Common Council did not possess The opening or alteration of a street in the populous the power, in disregard of those objections, to confirm
o'clock, P. M., a most fearful and terrific tornado part of the city, is a proceeding which should not in any case be adopted, except for paramount public their former action on the subject, if, on second thought, swept through the town, carrying with it ruin and
wide spread desolation, presenting a scene of disobjects.
it appear to be right. It obstructs the highways for a time, and involves our citizens in Assessments frequently of a
tress and woe, which beggars description.
I have no desire to infringe the legitimate authority One hundred and twelve houses (seventeen of most onerous character. When it is proposed to open of the Common Council, but in a matter so important a street through the sanctuary of the dead, all the
which were family residences) have been torn from as that under consideration, and in reference to a their foundations, and now lie scattered in ruins. objections to the making of streets under ordinary measure which all admit to be indefensible except on circumstances are strengthened by the addition of a
Many of their unfortunate inmates were killed ; the ground of public necessity, I deem it requisite others were torn and mangled in the most shocking new one, appealing with almost irresistible force to that the reports, and papers upon which the Common the finest feelings of our nature.
manner. Some of the wounded have since died; In all ages and Council act in declaring that necessity, should present others still linger in a hopeless condition. conntries the places consecrated to the burial of the facts sufficient to justify.tbe conclusion at which they dead have been held sacred, and every man shudders I arrive.
The Baptist Church, a large brick edifice, the pride W. F. HAVEMEYER."
and ornament of the town, has been crushed to the