U.S. Representative Mike Ross will be in Conway on Monday to lead a roundtable discussion on energy policy and the proposed natural gas severance tax increase.
The discussion will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, 900 Oak St.
Along with Ross will be Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin, Conway Mayor Tab Townsell, leadership from the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, local elected officials and business leaders. Members of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce will also attend.
Ross is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Natural Gas Caucus. Ross and other area leaders will discuss the current economic impact of energy exploration in Faulkner County and Arkansas.
The Conway City Council will later consider a resolution opposing an increase on the Arkansas severance tax at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the District Court Building. Townsell and city council members will be on hand during the discussion to talk about the proposed resolution.
Faulkner County justices of the peace adopted without discussion a resolution opposing an increase in the state’s natural
gas severance tax during its meeting April 17. The Vilonia City Council has also passed a resolution opposing the tax increase.
Scroggin said during a Quorum Court committee meeting last week that passage of the tax referendum could mean the end of the natural gas industry in Arkansas. He asked JPs to officially oppose a tax hike through the resolution.
The proposed referendum would increase Arkansas’ severance tax on natural gas from 5 to 7 percent.
Former natural gas executive Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock received ballot title approval from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in January to place the severance tax issue before voters. The tax hike could raise as much as $250 million a year for Arkansas highways, proponents say.
Nelson and the Arkansas Municipal League are working to gather 62,507 voter signatures by June to qualify placing the proposal on the general election ballot in November.