Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, last week asked the state police to investigate a failed petition drive that sought an increase in the state's production tax on natural gas.

The petitions were rejected earlier this month when only 30% of the signatures on the submitted petitions were found to be of valid Arkansas voters.

"I do not think it's a good thing, when you know forgeries have occurred, to let them go unchallenged," Rapert said.

Secretary of State Mark Martin said he would not ask police to investigate the effort to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

State police spokesman Bill Sadler said the agency would look into Rapert's report.

"Consistent with Arkansas State Police investigative procedures, the allegations will be shared with the prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction seeking his guidance on whether there is sufficient evidence to initiate an investigation, and at this time an investigative case file has not been opened," Sadler said.

The proposal would have raised the tax rate to 7% with no exemptions for production costs. The current rate varies from 1.25% to 5%.

The additional revenue would have been dedicated to street and highway projects. The state would have received 70% of the revenue, with 30% going to county and city aid funds. At least $20 million a year would have been earmarked for city streets.

Elections director Martha Adcock said only 21,347 valid signatures were found in the 69,774 signatures submitted by tax-increase proponents. At least 62,507 valid signatures are required to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.