State Looks to Tax Tattooers

7 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, December 30 2010 Dec 30, 2010 Thursday, December 30, 2010 2:32:14 PM CST December 30, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri has proposed increasing tattoo shop licensing fees from $30 to $100. The increase in fees for artists and body piercers would generate more revenue for the state, about $120,000 over the two year licensing period.

Surprising to some, some artists think fees should go up because it will help get the people who do tattoos illegally out of the market. Dean Jones, managing owner at Living Canvas in Columbia, says the possible increase does not bother him at all.

"We're doing permanent alterations to the human body," Jones said. "We should have to go through some stringent task, and there should be some cost to license us to do these procedures."

One of Jones' piercers, Eric Mezzanotte, got his permit in 2006 and has many of the same beliefs as Jones. He says little things that other stores in the area don't do separate Living Canvas from stores with bad reputations.

"I know there's probably two shops I would say that I know of that don't give out after care sheets," Mezzanotte said. "When people come see us, when we give them a care sheet, and they look all puzzled, and they say, 'what's this?' We say, 'that's your after care sheet, which we're required to give you.'"

A state agency that looks at professional licensing said the state needs the increase in order to make sure businesses give tattoos and piercings in the correct way. The number of body piercing and tattoo businesses in Missouri has increased by 33 percent since 2005.

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