Gov. Mike Beebe was misinformed earlier this week when he reversed his previous support of an increase to the severance tax levied on natural gas, said Sheffield Nelson, the measure’s sponsor.
However, a representative of the governor’s office said Beebe understands the parameters of the proposal — which would bump the state’s severance tax on natural gas production from 5 to 7 percent — and decided to oppose the measure because of the hindrances it could put on production in southern Arkansas’ Smackover Brown Dense Formation.
According to Arkansas News, Nelson is optimistic that he and supporters will be able to receive the 62,507 signatures necessary by July 6 to put the initiative on the ballot in November.
Locally, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, the Union County Industrial Board and the El Dorado City Council has all either signed resolutions opposing the measure or discussed the necessity of a resolution.
During a recent UCIB meeting, Union County Judge Mike Loftin said the Union County Quorum Court might also consider supporting a resolution in opposition.