Beau McCoy of Omaha campaigned in Nebraska City Monday for the Republican nomination for governor with a platform of lower taxes, jobs for Nebraskans and quality education.
McCoy, who grew up on a cattle ranch near the Nebraska border in Colorado and started his own roofing and home improvement company, has represented District 39 in the state Legislature since 2008.
As governor, he said, he would continue to fight for common sense tax relief.
He said that means tax relief not just for a few, but for as many Nebraskans as possible.
McCoy currently serves on the recently-created Tax Modernization Committee along with other members of the Legislature's Revenue Committee and chairs of the agriculture, appropriations, education and health and human services committees.
The modernization committee is scheduling public hearings this fall regarding the state's tax system and and is expected to present its recommendations in December.
McCoy said the scope of the work provides Nebraska a rare opportunity.
“We really only look at taxes and tax reform every 40 years in our history,” he said.
He said Nebraska is in a great position to look down the road and make decisions about what kind of state we want to be and what services to expect.
He said he sees benefits from a government of local decision-making with state leadership.He said state Game and Parks' decision this fall to temporarily close some history orientated state parks and recreation areas reminds him of his serve on the Legislature's natural resources committee.
Each year, he said, the parks commission would come to the Legislature with proposals for local management of a recreation area.
He said there were cases where local management was part of a long-range solution.
McCoy said he did not favor a proposal in the Legislature to place a $7 fee on all motor vehicles to help fund state parks.
Park funding is now geared toward a users fee, with a park permit charged when a vehicle enters.
He compared a tax on all motor vehicles to compelling people who have one or more vehicles to contribute to the parks.He said Nebraskans tend to be conservative on how they manage government.
“We don't spend money we don't have. A balanced budget is in our state Constitution, but I like to think we would balance our budget anyway. It's the right way,” he said.
McCoy commended Gov. Dave Heineman for his commitment to education and said he would continue those values.
He said when some states need to cut something to balance their budget, they go to education first, but said Nebraska wants to fund education first.
“Nothing is more important in the long-term for our state than the funding for education,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - He said that does not mean schools do not have to operate in the most cost-effective way possible.
McCoy, one of five Republican and two Democrats seeking their parties nomination on May 13, said he started his campaign Sept. 10 and it has been going well.
He said he has already put 6,500 miles on his pickup truck visiting Nebraskans.
The state is 500 miles wide and there are diverse issues, he said. “There are challenges in Scottsbluff that are different than those in Nebraska City, but they are similar in that government has to be effective,” he said.
Falls City businessman Charles Herbster transferred $594,000 in cash from his own governor's campaign fund to McCoy's campaign.
McCoy said he and Herbster had met at a Nebraska Cattlemen's event and found they have a common background.
Herbster, owner of Conklin Co., has an Angus herd and row crops and McCoy describes himself as a “fourth-generation ranch kid.”