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Philly World Cup Aid Remains Intact In Fiscal Code Bill

While not calling it out by name, House Bill 1300 is helping to keep Philadelphia’s bid to host portions of the 2026 FIFA World Cup afloat.

The bill would provide the city up to $10 million to “to attract high-quality, amateur and professional sporting and esports events to this Commonwealth for the purposes of advancing and promoting year-round tourism, economic impact and quality of life through sport and to promote business, tourism and tourism activities within this Commonwealth.”

It is part of an overall transfer of $25 million from the state Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund to the existing Sports, Marketing and Tourism Account.

The language in the bill appears to coincide with the city’s FIFA bid, defining an international sporting event as one in a city of the first class as well as other cities in North America that is no less than 25 days in length, has no less than five competition days in the Commonwealth, and will attract international teams from no fewer than 40 countries.

Check, check and check as Philadelphia is the lone first-class city in Pennsylvania, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will last 39 days with teams from 48 counties.

FIFA awarded Host City status to Philadelphia and the following U.S. cities: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

The expectation in Philadelphia has long been that Lincoln Financial Field’s biggest match would be a quarterfinal, hopefully featuring the United States. There are two candidates to host the final at this point, East Rutherford, N.J.’s MetLife Stadium (for its location) and Arlington, Texas’ AT&T Stadium (for its roof).

The Democratic-controlled House voted to amend Senate-passed HB 1300 last week so the two chambers will need to agree on a common version of the fiscal code bill in order to finish work on the state budget package for Fiscal Year 2023-24.

Democratic amendments include funding for adult mental health programs, the Whole Homes Repair program, indigent defense and a medical debt relief program — all areas that will have to be negotiated with the Republican-controlled Senate.

Democratic provisions also include a $500 million cap on transfers to the Rainy Day Fund, changes to Keystone Opportunity Zone programs and authorizing an electric low-speed scooter pilot program for Pittsburgh.

The separate floor votes on HB 1300 in recent weeks also show some areas with bipartisan agreement like the $10 million to promote a sporting event exists between the two chambers, according to legislative analyses.

These include:

— Help the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education make early repayments on existing debt for campus buildings at PennWest University while maintaining a tuition freeze for in-state students.

— Increase the authorization for the state police troopers complement to 4,410.

— Provide $20 million to counties to support mental health services.

— Require that state agencies base each each nursing facility’s case mix rate on the information that rates in FY2022-23 were based on. This action is sought by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.

— Increase the payment in lieu of taxes paid by DCNR, the Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission from $2 per acre to $2.40 per acre.

— Remove the restriction on volume of sales by distilleries.

— And extend judicial fees for two years.





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