Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, now a Republican candidate for governor, said Minnesota has more important priorities than providing public money for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Her comments Thursday came as the team and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the Metrodome's owners, continued a sudden falling out over having the team extend its lease at the Metrodome.
"I don't support subsidies for private business. There's always other ways to get things done," she said. "I haven't given [a Vikings stadium] a whole of thought, frankly. It's all of a sudden it's become an issue -- now it sounds like it's really become an issue."
On Tuesday, the commission took a preliminary vote -- apparently, without briefing the Vikings beforehand -- to adopt a plan that would reward the team financially if it extended its lease beyond an 2011 expiration, and penalize the Vikings financially if it did not. Team owner Zygi Wilf, and his brother, team president Mark Wilf, issued a letter late Wednesday announcing that the Vikings were suspending relations with the commission, which had been working with the team to win approval for a new publicly-financed stadium.
Earlier Thursday, the commission formally approved the plan -- a move that drew renewed criticism from the Vikings.
But Anderson said the developments should not lead to a rush to help finance a new stadium with taxpayer money because of fears that the team might leave Minnesota.
"We're in a severe recession. This isn't, you know, the time to spend, what is it? Hundreds of millions of dollars? I don't even know," she said. "We don't have hundreds of millions of dollars. We don't have the money.
"There are other things that are much more important. There's a lot of people that are going to run out of their unemployment benefits soon," she added.