I think tattoos should be treated like champagne. As many of you know, only sparkling wine from a certain part of France can legally be sold as “champagne.” Along those lines, I think that only tattoo artists born or trained on the planet of Tatooine should be allowed to refer to their work as a tattoo. For everyone else, it should just be “ink.”
Whatever it is called, Missouri wants to raise the taxes and fees on it. Not surprisingly, for those who follow this blog and know the real motivations behind occupational licensing and taxing, some current tattoo shop owners support the tax and fee increase. KOMU reports (emphasis added):
“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.”
I love how they make a big deal in the story about shops that don’t give out after-care instructions for their “illegal” tattoos. It took me less than 10 seconds to find online all the after-care instructions you would want.
I am not opposed to all regulation of the tattoo industry. I think statewide licensing of individual artists is unnecessary, and many other tattoo regulations are absurd, but basic sanitary inspections by county health departments seems reasonable.
I have news for people who believe that a higher license fee will keep people from performing tattoo work illegally: Higher costs and increased regulation may mean that more people — not fewer — will start doing the work “illegally.”
The state should get out of the business of regulating tattoo artists, and leave public health issues to local health departments.