On-Air Highlights

Keystone Crossroads: Municipalities in Distress

Written by Diana Robinson | Jun 11, 2015 8:30 AM
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Photo by Diana Robinson

Pennsylvania's Act 47 program was created in the late 1980s to help struggling municipalities regain their financial footing as the state's steel industry declined and mill towns lost their tax bases. 

Historically, most cities and boroughs that entered Act 47 never exited. The program became a "roach motel" of sorts for distressed local governments.

In 2014, Pennsylvania overhauled Act 47 and set deadlines - municipalities now have five years to exit the program, or face more intensive state intervention.

But there are structural issues at the heart of these local governments' troubles - poverty, loss of industry, aging and declining populations - things no financial management program can fix.

So what will it take for Pennsylvania's distressed municipalities to rebuild themselves, and become self-sustaining long-term?

Keystone Crossroads: Municipalities in Distress airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on WITF.

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