Courts of arbitration will have greater power under bankruptcy legislation that took effect March 1. Under the old 1992 statute, insolvent companies could stiff their creditors but avoid liquidation so long as their assets exceeded their liabilities. Companies were thus encouraged to stay afloat by treating uncollectible debts as assets, a practice that has helped perpetuate the chain of unpaid bills that has left wages in arrears and taxes in default throughout the economy. The new law will allow a court to force a company into reorganization or liquidation if it is more than 90 days behind to its creditors.