Ingebrigtsen: Which Minnesota is Gov. Walz living in?

Gov. Walz has a track record of being too little, too late. It’s disappointing that it takes a midterm election to elicit action from our governor. True leadership is answering the call when called upon, not when it’s convenient.

Gov. Walz
Gov. Tim Walz speaks at a press conference last week. (Office of Gov. Tim Walz/Flickr)

Despite Gov. Walz’s claim that there is One Minnesota, there are in fact two. There is the Minnesota we’re all living in where food costs are rising, families are struggling with double-digit increases in energy costs, crime is rampant, and the price of gas has remained stubbornly high. Gov. Walz is peddling a different version of Minnesota.

For example, he claimed over 80% of Minnesota’s students missed less than 10 days of in-class learning at the height of the pandemic. A fact-check tells us a different story. The original mandatory school closings were announced March 16, 2020, and lasted to the end of the school year — well beyond “10 days.” His mandatory closures led to a mental health crisis in our youth population and major lapses in test scores that have yet to be corrected.

The truth is, Minnesotans are struggling as a result of Gov. Walz’s failed policies and his “One Minnesota” is a gimmick.

Let’s consider Gov. Walz’s tax policy. Minnesota has some of the highest state and local taxes in the entire nation. In fact, Minnesota ranks in the bottom 10 for most tax-friendly states for businesses. Minnesota has the third highest top rate corporate income tax and the sixth highest individual income tax rate. Starting a business is punishing in Minnesota. But instead of reducing those high tax barriers, Gov. Walz’s proposed solution is to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing materials and incentives to try to convince businesses to invest here.

Now, as we close out MEA break, I’m reminded how hard inflation hit back-to-school shopping for parents and teachers at the beginning of the school year. Minnesotans have gone from feeling the pinch to a full-blown punch to the gut as they continue to buckle under the pressure of everyday expenses under this administration. Yet Gov. Walz continues to do nothing to alleviate those pains.

And as life becomes increasingly unaffordable in Minnesota, it is also becoming increasingly unsafe.

In August, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released its annual Uniform Crime Report for 2021. It showed that violent crime in Minnesota increased by 21% last year. The year before that, violent crime increased by 17% from 2019. The increase was even higher in the seven-county metro area, where violent crime rose by 23.9%. Greater Minnesota also saw a 16% increase.

Minneapolis interim Chief Amelia Huffman said shootings were up 101% compared to the same time in 2019. Crime continues to spread throughout the Twin Cities and the U.S. Attorney’s Office said violent crime and gang activities are near an all-time high in Minnesota.

But Minnesotans don’t need statistics to know their state isn’t as safe as it once was. They know simply trying to live their lives in this version of Minnesota could cost them their very life or livelihood.

Last month, three separate mass shootings occurred across Minneapolis within 27 hours.

Before that, a 6-year-old girl was shot while riding her bike with her family in south Minneapolis, caught in the crossfire of a gang-related shootout.

Seven boys 12-15 years old were arrested after a high-speed police chase in Woodbury for carjacking a vehicle and attempting to rob a store at gunpoint.

And a St. Paul lawmaker’s 70-year-old grandmother was killed by teenagers speeding away in a stolen vehicle.

Violent carjackings have skyrocketed over the past two years, but what is most disturbing is law enforcement agencies report almost all the suspects are between the ages of 13 and 19 years old. Some even organized entire carjacking rings throughout the Twin Cities.

Let this sink in for a moment. For two years, armed carjackings have skyrocketed across the Twin Cities and an overwhelming majority of them are perpetrated by children, all under this governor’s watch.

In my 35 years in law enforcement, I have never seen such brazen lawlessness and disregard for consequences as I have witnessed in the past two years. Those committing crimes do not fear repercussions because there have been no repercussions for them to fear.

For years, Minnesota’s judicial system has failed Minnesotans by not keeping individuals behind bars. They have refused to enforce laws designed to keep Minnesotans safe. In fact, Gov. Walz even praised Minnesota for having some of the lowest incarceration rates in the entire country.

Police departments from every corner of this state pleaded for more resources as they were battered, berated, and understaffed. Yet those pleas went unanswered. Where was Gov. Walz then? Was he absent because, as he said, “local policing is a local issue?” Why did he wait almost two years before utilizing the State Patrol? Why did he wait so long before utilizing the National Guard during those fateful hours when Minneapolis and St. Paul were burning to the ground?

Gov. Walz has a track record of being too little, too late. It’s disappointing that it takes a midterm election to elicit action from our governor. True leadership is answering the call when called upon, not when it’s convenient. I see his sudden and reformed attitude towards issues concerning everyday Minnesotans, and I think about the lives that have been tragically affected, or even worse, lost, because our leaders chose to not act sooner.

I think about the mothers living in fear after being senselessly attacked for their wallets and cars.

I think about the storeowners who poured their lives into their businesses only to see them succumb to high taxes, overregulation, and shutdowns.

I think about our children who are either turning to a life of crime or living long enough to become a victim of it.

The tale of two Minnesotas is a tragic story. Minnesota is not what it once was, and it is certainly not what Gov. Walz is woefully trying to convince Minnesotans it is. Minnesota is a place of historic inflation, unbridled crime, and leaders who care more about perception than reality — that is the state of Minnesota today. I look forward to the day when Minnesotans rewrite the story of our state, and reclaim their prosperity, their safety, and their future.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not represent an official position of Alpha News. 


Bill Ingebrigtsen

Bill Ingebrigtsen is a Minnesota senator and chairman of the Foundation for Minnesota’s Future.