Fixing of the Rate of Interest or a Limitation of the Rate Is Legislative In Character

In People ex rel. Emigrant Indus. Sav. Bank v. Sexton (284 NY 57, 61), a tax certiorari case cited and quoted in Rodriguez (supra), the Court held that the 1939 statute was prospective only in effect and did not delegate legislative power because "a limit merely is imposed. There can be no doubt that the fixing of the rate of interest, or a limitation of the rate, is legislative in character. This circumstance is, however, without significance. The statute mandates no particular rate. Courts have long exercised authority to determine in accordance with legal rules and principles whether or not interest should be directed to be paid and the rate thereof. This power is by this statute restricted in one particular only, a maximum is imposed." In Matter of City of New York (Bronx Riv. Parkway) (284 NY 48, affd sub nom. A. F. & G. Realty Corp. v. City of New York, 313 US 540), a condemnation case decided the same day, the Court of Appeals held the 1939 statute constitutional and applicable to a municipality in a condemnation proceeding. Further, "compensation, when not paid coincidentally with the taking of the property, must include some sum in addition to the bare value of the property at the date of taking for the delay in making payment, so that the compensation may be just" and "in the absence of evidence as to what such additional sum should be, interest, as provided by law, meets the constitutional requirement" (supra, at 54).