Pennsylvania’s Act 47 program, the state’s workout program for financially distressed municipalities launched in 1987, has seen only seven of the 28 communities that entered the program exit. But that may change with a bill slated to be signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett that would limit them to eight years in the program before facing receivership or dissolution.

"Act 47 wasn't intended to be this perpetual," said William Rhodes, chairman of the public finance department at Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr LLP and practice leader of its municipal recovery initiative. "Harrisburg showed what a strong intervention by the state can do.

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