LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Election officials say supporters of a proposed severance tax hike on natural gas fell short of the required signatures to appear on the ballot and will be given 30 additional days to circulate petitions.
The secretary of state's office said Thursday that only 21,347 of the signatures submitted by tax supporters were valid. Supporters needed at least 62,507 signatures from registered voters to place the proposed initiated act on the ballot.
Since the petitions cleared an initial count, supporters have until Aug. 20 to gather additional signatures.
The proposal by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Sheffield Nelson would raise the tax to 7 percent and the money would go toward Arkansas roads. Nelson is a former natural gas executive.
The measure faces heavy opposition from the state's natural gas industry.
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