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of the masses of our countrymen. Through a liberal use of printers' ink that magical sesame which unlocks and swings open the doors of knowledge in every city, town and hamlet, we may make known to the nation the time-tried virtues of our associations which hold open the doors of hope to the willing and the striving, who through industry and economy would rise in life.
Through the daily press we may achieve the widest publicity possible, and can present to the public, with best results, that cooperation and mutual helpfulness which is the key of our success and the main spring of our being, and which makes for the advancement of mankind.
We may make more fully known, through such a bureau, the fact that individual advancement is largely governed by opportunity availed of and through personal effort made, and that our local building and loan associations, homestead societies and cooperative banks are the broad highways to certain success.
Through efforts of publicity men are educated to become selfreliant, thrifty and enterprising; their faith in human nature and affairs is broadened and prosperous, and populous communities are built up among the people.
Through such a bureau our nation may be stimulated and be more largely uplifted-peace, contentment and plenty may more generally abound throughout our land, as our people shall through a larger enlightenment expand to a broader and better life, as they shall continue to fulfill in a more ample degree, the purpose for which God hath fashioned and ordained them, that of serving to the uttermost, human liberty, civilization and advancement.
My friends, such a work as we are accomplishing emblazones the paths of hope and progress. It raises to a high and honorable place, both individual and co-operative accomplishments, and emphasizes individual service which ever nerves the human heart to successful and worthy endeavors, and beautifies and glorifies human existence. For it is through duty and service that we truly enter life, through the gate called "Beautiful” by rendering a helpful human service to our fellow-men.
For by so doing we shall elevate the better, above the grosser man, and obtain those high ideals in government, in national and domestic life, that shall redound to greatest usefulness and glory, and which lead to and make for a most worthy civilization; one that shall long live in the annals of mankind and prove most worthy of emulation.
Pay Your Honest Debts. Pay your honest debts. Too many people nowadays live beyond their means, and do not pay their debts. You cannot pay them if you will not do without something you want, of course. You get into debt by extravagance; you may get out of it by just the opposite means. Give up some little things that cost you money and do you no good, and pay your debts. Every man should do this.
New Jersey League Meeting.
By H. E. EHLERS, in Call, Newark, N. J. To the protest going up from all over the country against the operation of the war tax on building and loan associations was added the voice of the New Jersey State League of Building and Loan Associations, which met at Newark, December 5. The meeting drew together representative business and professional men from many parts of the state in the most enthusiastic annual gathering ever held by the organization.
A resolution unanimously adopted by the two hundred men present set forth their belief that Congress intended to exempt building and loan associations from the war tax; that such bodies should be subject to no tax of any kind, and that New Jersey Senators and Representatives would be asked to support an amendment to the tax act making the desired exemption specific.
That a test case should be made in having the courts construe the law was advocated by Henry S. Rosenthal, of Cincinnati, editor of the AMERICAN BUILDING ASSOCIATION News. Internal Revenue Commissioner W. H. Osborn has decided that the exemption provided in the act extends only to stocks and bonds issued by the associations. This excludes from exemption all other taxable instruments which may be executed by the associations.
Among the speakers were Charles Eugene Clark, of Covington, Ky., president of the United States League of Building and Loan Associations; Joseph A. McNamee, of Atlantic City, president of the New Jersey League; Martin S. Cohen, president of the New York League, and K. V. Haymaker, of Defiance, O., who is organizing associations on what is known as the permanent plan in Virginia.
The need of greater publicity for the League was told by President McNamee, and at his suggestion a bureau of publicity was created, with Herbert E. Ehlers, of this city, at the head.
"This League," said Mr. McNamee, in opening the meeting, "stands for a great cause—the conservation of the finances of the masses. It has a great philanthropic motive underlying all its efforts."
Mr. McNamee reviewed the steady progress of building associations in this state. He referred to what he said had been a lapse of activity on the part of officers of the League, and said that two weeks ago, while in Cincinnati with the Messrs. Clark and Rosenthal, he had decided that it was time "to stir things up,' and to begin by taking up the stamp tax protest.
At his suggestion Mr. Clark and Mr. Rosenthal agreed to come here and lend their aid.
"We are a powerful body,” concluded Mr. McNamee, "with large opportunities, but we need to consolidate the many units into a concentrated force. All associations in the state ought to
join this league. Wake up! Be alive! Watch for things that might hurt the movement and avert trouble.”
“Building and loan associations,” declared Mr. Haymaker, in explaining why they should not be taxed, "are the only known institutions whose sole business is to manufacture taxable property. Practically every dollar taken in is paid out to build new houses which immediately become part of the permanent wealth of communities and upon which taxes are paid.
“Another reason why they should not be taxed is because their money comes largely from the wage-earner—the poor man, who eats his dinner from a pail. I think the United States Government is in mighty small business when it sends its collectors to figure revenue from the workingman's dinner pail."
Mr. Smith declared the same provision was in the war tax act of 1898, and that there had been no disposition then to read into it any application to building associations. This led John G. Butterfield, of Jersey City, to remark that the associations of New Jersey last year charged borrowers $700,000 in premiums on loans.
Taking up this statement, John Hoye, of Ridgefield, injected ginger into the meeting, saying he had sat by quietly for two hours without a chance “to start something.'
"We oughtn't to pay the government one penny,” Mr. Hoye declared. “As for premiums, all the members of the association share equally in the amount charged to borrowers, including the borrower."
"They don't in my association," answered Mr. Butterfield. "They get only one-third.”
Mr. Hoye replied that he would like an opportunity to go over the rules of Mr. Butterfield's association, and any similar one, with the idea of pointing out a method to make material improvement. This raised a laugh.
Toward the close of the meeting it was suggested by August Warren, of Jersey City, that a committee draft a resolution expressing the sentiment of the League on the subject of the war tax. Not only should the State League seek to interest members of Congress in straightening out the difficulty, said he, but the movement should be so far extended that individual members of local associations would write to Congressmen asking their aid.
It was pointed out by several speakers that legislators could hardly fail to listen to appeals of building association members, since New Jersey ranks third in building and loan assets, having a total of $83,000,000 of the national league's total of $1,250,000,000. Ohio and Pennsylvania exceed this state.
Mr. Warren's suggestion met with favor and the resolution adopted was as follows:
"WHEREAS, In our opinion it was the intent of Congress in enacting the emergency revenue act to exempt from its provisions entirely mutual cooperative building and loan associations; and
"WHEREAS, In our opinion such building and loan associations should be free from taxation of every kind; therefore, be it
“Resolved, That our solicitor be requested to file with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue at Washington a brief on behalf of the building and loan associations of the state of New Jersey in support of their claim that they are not subject in any way to the provisions of the emergency revenue act; and be it further
"Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives from this state be requested to support an amendment to the emergency revenue act declaring clearly and specifically that mutual co-operative building and loan associations are exempt from all of its provisions.
"Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to each member of Congress from this state.”
As a suggestion of what might be done until the construction of the war tax is more definitely determined, President McNamee read what had been decided by the Pennsylvania League. In that state for the present all bonds accompanying mortgages are to have a fifty-cent stamp attached. All warrants of attorney are to have a twenty-five-cent stamp, and promissory notes for stock loans at the rate of two cents for every $100 or fraction thereof.
On collateral transfers no stamp is required. On transfers of stock from one individual to another, for each $100 of face value or fraction thereof shall be attached a two-cent stamp. No stamps are required upon mortgages or upon stock certificates.
The permanent plan of building associations, such as prevails in Ohio, was described by Mr. Haymaker. Under this scheme, he said, no membership fee is charged, there is no charge for passbook or certificate, there are no fines, no premiums, no withdrawal fees, and the same rate of interest is charged for all amounts. Compound interest is charged delinquent borrowers, and a system of simplified bookkeeping is used.
"The result of this plan," said Mr. Haymaker, "has seen an astonishing growth in Ohio. Ten years ago Ohio had eleven associations with assets of more than $1,000,000; today there are fifty-two associations, each having more than $1,000,000 in assets, while two have over $7,000,000.
"We have an elastic contract with borrowers. They may make weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, semi-monthly or yearly payments. In Ohio we issued paid-up stock, and the man who takes stock can pay as he pleases.
"Loans on farming and rural property in Ohio are a very vital part of the building associations' business. To the average man a building association means one that builds houses in cities or towns, but investigation has shown that 20 per cent of all the outstanding loans against Ohio farms are held by building associations."
The speaker pointed to what he called the danger from Congress meddling with rural credit. Should recently contemplated legislation on this subject be passed, he added, building associations dealing largely with farm property would be unable to compete and would certainly be seriously affected.
Reference to the land banks started in New York, first state to adopt this method of providing farmers with easy methods of
getting ready money, was made by Mr. Cohen. Some provisions of the law in this state covering building associations, he thought, were dangerous.
In prefacing his address, Mr. Rosenthal remarked that such sessions as this one should be held by the League for two days annually, and that there should be more county leagues. Like other speakers, he emphasized the need of publicity in accomplishing the League's ends.
The speaker pointed out that more than 700,000 homes have been built by building associations since first started. A platform on which all associations should stand, he said, was that containing the planks: “A home for every family,” and “Exemption from taxation for those homes having a value of $3,000 or less."
“The building and loan movement of the United States," continued Mr. Rosenthal, "as in other countries, has passed the experimental stage and has evolved its own development and gained its own experience, has withstood a number of economic crises, which, in the United States as elsewhere, periodically depress business and the value of securities. It has gained wisdom from the failures and tribulations of similar organizations in European countries. It has learned the value of integrity and courage, and it has proved that those who depend upon its service build upon a sure foundation and need not fear the storm.
“There are, however, some problems yet to be solved. Possibly the most difficult of these is that of taxation. The solution of this question is in the main dependent upon the solving of another one: *How can we make not only the public but also the law-making bodies understand clearly that a building and loan association is simply a co-operative institution—that it is not an organization for profit in the sense of the law, and therefore must remain free from any form of direct taxation?'
“It is our duty to secure for the membership in our institutions that recognition in the economic, political and especially in the legislative fields to which they are justly entitled. There must be no effort left untried to organize our interests everywhere, so that the members will be best able to protect themselves, and to assist those already organized, as well as those associations yet to come. Our work in looking after the building association interests has just begun; up to this time we have merely 'scratched the surface.' Our efforts toward extension must be continued until every head of a family has the protection afforded by a 'home,' which is in fact a home owned by him or her."
Mr. Charles Eugene Clark, president of the United States League, addressed the meeting on the subject, "Our Plain Duty to the Building and Loan Association Movement of the United States," which appears in full in another part of this issue.
Mr. McNamee, being prevailed upon to accept another term, was re-elected president of the League. Other officers chosen were: First vice-president, Francis J. Gormley, Jersey City, presi