Sheffield Nelson said he would “suspend” his campaign to raise the state's severance tax to a flat 7%.
Nelson, whose organization is called the Committee for A Fair Severance Tax, has been collecting signatures to qualify the tax hike for the November ballot. It has enjoyed support from the Arkansas Municipal League, which represents cities across the state.
The effort had more than 70% of its petition signatures invalidated last week by the Secretary of State's office and a number of those signatures appear to have been fraudulentl
On Tuesday (July 24), Nelson told reporters that meeting the extended signature deadline — more than 41,000 valid signatures in the next 30 days — would be difficult to achieve.
He also faces the hurdle of persuading public opinion.
A new Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll, taken last Thursday, July 19, showed only 33% support for the severance tax proposal. More than 54% opposed the tax hike, which would help pay for state and local roads.
Talk Business will update this story later today.