|Chief Justice Melville Fuller.|
Cortland Evening Standard, Tuesday, April 9, 1895.
INCOME TAX DECISION.
The Treasury Will Be a Heavy Loser Thereby.
TAX ON RENTALS A BIG ITEM.
The Change in the Law May Reduce the Government's Income Tax Revenues One-Half—Further Litigation Sure to Follow—What Olney Says.
WASHINGTON, April 9.—The anxiously awaited decision of the United States supreme court in the income tax was rendered by Chief Justice Fuller.
The court knocked out the law so far as it taxed incomes derived from rents and also from state, county and municipal bonds.
By a tie vote of the court the law was sustained in other respects.
Upon each of the other questions argued at the bar, to wit: First, whether the void provisions as to rents and incomes from real estate invalidates the whole act? Second, whether as to the income from personal property as such the act is unconstitutional as laying direct taxes? Third, whether any part of the tax, if not considered as a direct tax, is invalid for want of uniformity on either of the grounds suggested?—the justices who heard the arguments are equally divided and therefore no opinion is expressed.
The result is that the decree of the circuit court is reversed, and the cause remanded with directions to enter a decree in favor of complainant in respect only of the voluntary payment of the tax on the rent and income of its real estate and that which it holds in trust and on the income from the municipal bonds owned or so held by it.
The announcement of the foregoing conclusions of the court was preceded by a review of many opinions of the supreme court from the time of Chief Justice Marshall down to the celebrated Springer case brought by ex-Representative Springer of Illinois and by an exhaustive review of the nature of direct and indirect taxation, in the course of which the chief justice reviewed the debates leading up to the framing of the federal constitution.
In conclusion, the chief justice stated that this opinion upon the Pollock case covered the two other cases.
The delivery of the opinion consumed just one hour. Chief Justice Fuller was followed by Justice Field, who read the first dissenting opinion, speaking in a low tone that contrasted noticeably with the loud delivery of the chief justice.
The decision applies to three cases, the first of which, was brought in the courts of the District of Columbia by John G. Moore, to enjoin the commissioner of internal revenue from the collection of the income tax; while the other two were those of Charles Pollock vs. Farmers' Loan & Trust company and Lewis H. Hyde vs. the Continental Trust company; both appealed from the decision of the United States circuit court for the Southern district of New York. The action in these two cases was brought to enjoin a voluntary compliance with the law in the payment of taxes.
Justice Field in a dissenting opinion said: "I am of the opinion that the whole law of 1894 is null and void."
He was followed by Justice White in a second dissenting opinion.
Justice Field's opinion was largely devoted to a review of the provision regarding rents, and was a vigorous denunciation of the principle sought to be established by the income tax law, his conclusions being in conformity with those announced by the chief justice.
Justice White's dissent was largely extemporaneous and was very long. Apparently he favored the upholding of the whole law.
Justice Harlan followed Justice White in a dissenting opinion and the case was closed. Nothing was said to show how any of the justices stood save the three who read dissents.
The treasury officials are greatly dispirited over the supreme court's decision in the income tax case and while admitting that they have no reliable data upon which to form an accurate estimate, they express the belief that the net result of the decision will be a loss of at least 50 per cent in the receipts from incomes.
In some cities the loss will be far greater than this, notably in the city of Washington, where the loss is expected to exceed 75 per cent. Washington, however, is exceptionally a renting city. The proportion of rented houses in other cities of the country is very large.
In 1890 the rented houses in New York city was nearly 94 per cent of the whole. In Boston it was 81 per cent, Brooklyn 81, Cincinnati 80 and Jersey City 81. In other large cities the percentages range down to 56 at Rochester.
The total number of rented houses in the United States in 1890 was 1,120,487, which during the last five years have undoubtedly increased very materially.
Dwelling houses, however, represent only a small part of the capital invested in buildings of every character which produce enormous rentals.
Comparatively little was expected from interest on state, county and municipal bonds, but the total loss, it is thought, will not fall short of $15,000,000 or $20,000,000 the first year, and this loss is expected to increase rather than to diminish in succeeding years should the law remain unrepealed.
The loss of this revenue, however, is not the only cause of regret among the officials. The fact that the court was evenly divided on the main constitutional question, it is expected, will result in almost endless litigation, thus very materially adding to the expense of collection of the tax.
Nevertheless the internal revenue officials will proceed at once to prepare supplemental regulations to conform to this decision, and from now on until next Monday, when the time expires within which returns may be made, any returns in which incomes from rents and bonds are deducted, will be regarded as a full compliance with the law.
Persons who have already made their returns and paid the tax will be advised of the change in the regulations and as soon as possible the proportionate amounts of tax paid by each on rents and bonds will be refunded to them, under the general law which authorizes the commissioner of internal revenue to refund taxes wrongfully collected.
Attorney General Olney was much surprised at that part of the decision which exempts rents under the income tax.
As to the section of the act relating to bonds, the attorney general rather expected an adverse decision, but he regards the action of the court on the rent proportion as having been taken on technicalities which he believes will not stand the test of time and cannot remain the permanent law of the land. On all the other points the government, he believes, has no serious cause for complaint.
It is universally regretted that there was not a full bench to hear the case, and should Justice Jackson resign, his successor, there is good reason to believe, would almost certainly be favorable to the law, in which event another test case very soon would be brought to the court for determination.
Extra Session Not Necessary.
WASHINGTON, April 9.—The president, on being asked whether in view of the decision of the supreme court on the income tax law an extra session of congress would be called, said that neither he nor the secretary of the treasury saw any necessity for such action and that unless there was an unexpected change in conditions he had no idea that congress would meet again before the time appointed for its regular session.
Report on the Brooklyn Strike.
ALBANY, April 9.—The special assembly committee to investigate the Brooklyn trolley strike reported in a printed document 93 pages long. The committee says that the mayor and police commissioner of the city showed a marked lack of fitness for office. It recommends a strict enforcement of the 10-hour law, the licensing of all railroad employes, the reporting to the governor by the state board of mediation of where the responsibility lies, the issuance of extraordinary writs of mandamus, and forbidding the stock of transportation companies to be held by foreign companies. The committee does not believe that municipal ownership or compulsory arbitration can successfully be adopted.
Direct and Indirect Taxation.
Dr. Albert Shaw, in The Review of Reviews, quotes from John Stuart Mill's textbook in political economy the following paragraphs defining the difference between direct and indirect taxation:
“Taxes are either direct or indirect. A direct tax is one which is demanded from the very persons who it is intended or desired should pay it. Indirect taxes are those demanded from one person in the expectation and intention that he shall indemnify himself at the expense of another, such as the excise or customs. The producer or importer of a commodity is called upon to pay tax on it, not with the intention to levy a peculiar contribution upon him, but to tax through him the consumers of the commodity, from whom it is supposed that he will recover the amount by means of an advance in price.
“Direct taxes are either on income or on expenditure. The sources of income are rent, profits and wages. This includes every sort of income, except gift or plunder. Taxes may be laid on any one of the three kinds of income, or a uniform tax on all of them. A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. A tax on profits, like a tax on rent, must—at least in its immediate operation, fall wholly on the payer. We now turn to taxes on wages. Any tax levied on these (the higher grades of mental or educated labor) falls on those who pay it.”
But Mill's distinction is faulty. It is not true that a tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. His tenants pay it just so surely as the consumer pays the customs duties on the wines and textile fabrics he buys from the merchant who imports them. To tell the truth, the line cannot be drawn exactly between the direct and the indirect tax. Even when profits are taxed the man who gets the profits raises the price of his goods so as to get the amount out of his customers. Wages alone of the three sources of wealth mentioned by Mill seem at first thought to constitute the one in which an income tax would be a direct tax. But even here the wage earner will try to get his pay raised so that he can get the tax out of the business in which he is employed. That he cannot do it always is not his fault. He would if he could.
On the whole, is there any such thing as a direct tax? Is it not, like so many other beliefs, an exploded superstition of the political economists of 200 years ago?
L. T. L. UNION SOCIAL.
Several Noted Characters Personated by Young Ladies.
Last evening was a time of special interest to every member of the Cortland Loyal Temperance legion, senior union. These young people comprise the two senior grade L. T. L.'s, Co. B. and Co. D, and the Graduate club of Cortland, about 65 in number. For the purpose of becoming better acquainted and more imbued with the spirit of comradeship, as branches of one great organization, they had decided to hold a union reception and social at the W. C. T. U. rooms. Dainty invitations were sent out to all members of the organization, and an exceptionally fine program was given, consisting of personations of different temperance leaders and the presentations were artistically made by members of the legion.
The following great leaders were presented and each made a characteristic speech. Miss Frances E. Willard personated by Miss Katie Collins was introduced and gave an interesting account of her life from her earliest childhood and of her present plans and purposes. This was a particularly happy personation of Miss Willard, as, except in height, every one noticed the marked similarity in personal appearance of Miss Collins to the great leader.
Miss Anna Gordon personated by Miss Maude Stevenson was next introduced and in a few remarks made all see how indispensable she had become to her great friend and how loyal and loving she was to the great cause to which both lives were consecrated. She also assured the legion of her intense interest in every thing which concerned them as she stood at the head of the L T. L. work. As world's superintendent she closed her remarks by singing one of her own songs written for the L. T. L., "Onward we are Marching Alcohol to Fight."
Then the great W. C. T. U. evangelist, the sweet and gentle little Quakeress, Mrs. Hannah Whithall Smith, was introduced. Miss Catherine Keese personated most perfectly this character, and in her sweet and modest, yet dignified and self-controlled manner gave a selection from the charming writings of "Our Hannah," as Miss Willard often tenderly designates the beloved W. C. T. U. leader.
Following her came the gentle but intrepid first round the world Missionary of the W. C. T. U., Mrs. Mary Clement Leavitt. This character was beautifully personated by Miss Alma Morrison and the brief account of her perils and deliverances of her unwavering faith and wonderful preservation in the midst of dangers, while on her unique journey round the world in the interest of the W. C. T. U. was full of interest.
After her came Mrs. Helen G. Rice of Boston, national superintendent of the Loyal Temperance legion. This personation was finely made by Miss Edith Williams. She expressed her pleasure in again meeting the L. T. L.'s of Cortland, assuring them she had never forgotten the delightful convention which she attended here last August, and bidding them Godspeed in their blessed work, asked them to give again the L. T. L. rallying cry, which under her leading they gave with a vim, and closed by leading the legioners in singing the L. T. L. battle song, "Down with Whiskey All."
The next personation was by Miss Pearl Owen of Mrs. N, H. Hutchinson of Owego, New York, state organizer of L. T. L.'s, who so endeared herself to all hearts both young and old last summer at the State L. T. L. convention. Miss Owen was so hoarse she could not speak, but her personal likeness to the loved leader was striking and she was well received.
The young lady who was to represent the beloved state leader of the L. T. L., Mrs. H. A. Metcalf of Brockport, was Miss Maude Robbins. She was too ill with a severe cold to act her part and in place of it Mrs. Cotton, county superintendent of L. T. L. work read a genuine message from the pen and heart of the dear superintendent which was received with rapt attention and heartily applauded.
At the close of the program cocoa and cake were served and the legioners went home congratulating themselves on the success of their first union social.
Henry C. Babcock Shoots Himself, Temporary Insanity the Cause.
The people of Cortland were startled this morning at the report that Mr. Henry C. Babcock had committed suicide by shooting. A STANDARD reporter visited the scene of the shooting and found the facts concerning it as follows:
Mr. Babcock lived just east of the D., L. & W, railroad track a little south of the crossing between Cortland and Homer. Last evening a little before 9 o'clock Mr. and Mrs. Babcock, who occupied separate beds retired, but Mr. Babcock laid down without removing his clothing, remarking to his wife that he was not feeling well and would lie down a little while without doing so.
Soon after the lights had been extinguished Mrs. Babcock was startled by a sudden report of a pistol discharged in the room. She immediately arose and obtained a light, but Mr. Babcock who was gasping for breath died almost instantly with blood gushing from a bullet hole about two inches above and just in front of the right ear. The ball passed through the skull, penetrating the brain to the depth of four or five inches. The revolver, which was a 32 calibre, was kept in a chest at the head of Mr. Babcock's bed.
Coroner Moore was immediately summoned but after an examination it was decided that no inquest was necessary. Mr. Babcock was the son of the late Hiram Babcock of Scott. He was born in that place nearly 59 years ago and resided there until about a year ago when he moved to Cortland. He leaves a wife and one child, a daughter, Mrs. Hiram Crosley of Truxton who was immediately summoned. Four brothers and two sisters also survive him. They are William and Albert Babcock of Scott, Edgar of Minnesota, and Myron of Homer, and Mrs. J. C. Atwater and Mrs. William Hannum also of Homer.
The immediate cause of this unlooked-for act is a fit of temporary insanity.
Law of the Road.
It is a rule established by custom and supported by judicial decisions that when teams meet on public highways they must turn to the right. This salutary rule which prevails upon highways is followed to some extent upon double-tracked railways, that is, trains going east, for instance, run upon the right hand track, and trains going west pass over the left hand track. But upon the Four Track railroad while this rule is generally adhered to, it can always be dispensed with for obvious reasons.
The best known code of rules and signals is employed for the operation of their trains, but with four tracks trains can, in case of necessity or emergency, be thrown upon another track and sent forward at very high speed, without the least danger. The most perfect and reliable block signal system in the world is used upon the Four Track route and by the operation of this system trains can be controlled with the precision and accuracy of clockwork. With this system not a train can pass into or out of a block unless the way is clear, and the elements of danger are reduced to the zero point. Working automatically and in perfect unison this system is as immutable and inexorable in operation as the law of gravitation. With its entire track roadway equipped with these wonderful block signals, trains can be run at great speed, without delays and with absolute safety and comfort.
A manager who expends thousands of dollars in order that nothing will be neglected that might add to the enjoyment of his patrons certainly deserves success, and, as a rule, he generally gets it, if the public would endeavor to discriminate between responsible companies and those who possess no stability.
There are plenty of good shows, but, unfortunately, there are hundreds which are utterly devoid of merit. Now, any one can tell at a glance if they see a magnificent new store with massive plate glass windows, that it necessarily calls for a great outlay of money to erect it, and the stock in such a store is generally of the finest. The same line of reasoning to theatrical enterprises; for instance: when you see a show billed in the lavish and expensive manner that characterizes "She Couldn't Many Three" company you can rest assured that there is money and push back of it.
The beautiful artistic pictorial lithographic work, is the finest and the costliest on the road. No lithographic firm would attempt that kind of work without having ten thousand dollars down to insure them from loss. This is only one of the many items of a great show, and the same good taste which provides this beautiful printing will neglect no other department of the show. So there is no doubt that the production of "She Couldn't Marry Three" is the biggest show of the season.
Gleanings of News From Our Twin Village.
William Forrest of Cortland is now in charge of H. K. Hannum's grocery business.
Mr. and Mrs. Byron Maxon left town this morning for a ten days' trip to Washington and Norfolk, Va.
O. B. Andrews and J. W. Fassett are in Syracuse to-day.
The Homer lodge, I. O. O. F., will hold its weekly meeting in the First National bank building this evening.
The Willoughby Babcock Post, G. A. R. and the Willoughby Relief Corps will hold their respective meetings at the G. A. R. headquarters in the Brockway block this evening at 8 P. M.
W. H. Foster and C. H. Danes returned from Little York this morning with seventy-five pounds of suckers.
Mrs. Bridget Kinney, who lives on Cherry-st., fell and broke her right leg yesterday noon. Dr. Robinson was called and reduced the fracture. Mrs. Kinney is over eighty years old and this unfortunate accident it is feared will cause her much suffering.
The Salvation Army meeting in the Congregational church this evening is to be addressed by two able speakers, Brig. Gen. Holtz of Buffalo and Adj. A. C. Smith of Syracuse. Everybody is invited to be present.
The assistant chief of the Homer fire department made a thorough test of Homer's natural water supply last Sunday afternoon, while paddling on the Tioughnioga in a light canoe. The craft capsized and the result was satisfactory so far as the test was concerned.
The list of uncalled for letters in the Homer postoffice includes the following—Daniel Carr, Pat Daley and E. C. Kinney. Persons calling for the same will please mention this notice.
|Cascade at Glen Haven.|
Glen Haven in the Spring.
It would be difficult to find a place more beautiful at all seasons of the year than Glen Haven. The business rush of the summer season has not yet opened, but this only tends to make the place more enjoyable. The millions of tons of ice in the lake are gradually melting and the balmy air and fine climate tend to dispel any indications whatever of "that tired felling."
Among the most recent guests at the sanitarium was Mr. Geo. S. Cady, captain of the steamer Ossahinta which has safely carried many a Cortland county party down the beautiful lake. Capt. Cady is bracing up for the summer trade and is taking a series of the new surprise shower baths, the first of which he received Sunday morning, when he caught a pail douche on leaving his room.
The first party to visit the Cascade this season made the ascent of the mountain on Palm Sunday. The falls never looked more beautiful. The melting snow has increased the stream in the gorge till it is quite a torrent.
—Mrs. C. Sweet, the nurse, has changed her residence from 49 Lincoln-ave. to 31 Lincoln-ave,
—C. N. Tyler has sold his grocery on Elm-st. to W. J. Perkins who has taken possession. Mr. Tyler, however, will remain in charge of the business.
—It costs nearly $2,000 a year to maintain the Fiske-McGraw mansion and grounds, which have never earned a dollar of revenue.—Ithaca Journal.
—The river has risen nearly twenty inches and the water has backed to Cooper Bros.' foundry to such an extent as to cause them to stop work for a few days.
—The defunct Ithaca Herald yesterday resumed publication under the name of the Ithaca News. The editors and publishers are Merritt M. Dayton and DeWitt C. Bouton of Ithaca.
—Binghamton expects to adopt the telephones of the new Standard Oil Telephone company which proposes to put in telephones in all parts of the country at the uniform price of $25 each.
—The Y. M. C. A. Camera club will meet in the association parlors on Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock. G. E. Butler will present a paper on elementary photography. All interested are cordially invited to be present.
—The removal of hat idea among ladies is spreading. Sixty-five Oneida ladies removed their hats at a recent performance in the theatre. One hundred Geneva ladies have signed a petition asking all ladies to remove their hats at the beginning of every performance in the theatre there.
—A stove which was being moved out of the Squires building stood on the curb at 1:30 this afternoon. The team which was to move the stove backed the wagon up to the curb faster than the driver wanted them to go. The wheels struck the stove, there was a smash and the stove lay on its side on the flagging, and there were several pieces of it, where before there had been but one.
A special meeting of the board of trustees of the village of Cortland was held at the office of the clerk of said village on the 8th day of April, 1895 at 7:30 o'clock P. M. There were present F. W. Higgins president, Benj. L. Webb, Frank J. Doubleday, James J. Glann and E. J. Warfield.
The meeting was called to order by the president. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. It was moved and carried that Mr. Warfield be a committee of one to oversee the furnishing of work to Mr. Griffiths under the arrangements made with him.
On motion of Mr. Doubleday, seconded by Mr. Glann and declared carried, Resolved: That the president appoint a committee to negotiate for the purchase of an additional roadscraper. The president accordingly appointed Messrs. Doubleday and Warfield as such committee.
On motion of Mr. Webb, seconded by Mr. Glann and declared carried, Resolved, That Mr. William T. Linderman be and is hereby appointed one of the policemen of the village and chief of the police force of this village in place of James E. Sager, to hold office as such policeman during the pleasure of this board.
It was moved and carried that the president be a committee of one to purchase necessary uniform for the newly appointed policeman.
On motion duly seconded and declared carried, Resolved: That Mr. I. H. Palmer be chosen and appointed attorney and counsel for the village.
The following bills were allowed:
Thomas Mulligan, $10.80
Cortland Savings Bank, 180.00
Frank Williams, 5.69
Police Force, 50.75
Buck & Lane, 4.07
B. B. Jones, printing, 14.50
Empire State Telephone Co., 9.00
Yager & Marshall, 3.50
James E. Sager, meals for prisoners, 4.45