Governor Fallin suggests tattoo parlors be charged sales tax - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Governor Fallin suggests tattoo parlors be charged sales tax

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With huge budget cuts coming for the 2017 fiscal year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is looking for ways to increase sales tax.

This week, Governor Fallin announced the state must fill a nearly $900 million shortfall.
To make up that difference, Governor Fallin suggested charging sales taxes on some service-related businesses, such as dog groomers, car washes and tattoo parlors.

Impact Ink Tattoo Studio owner John Wolfenbarger says if a change was made forcing those getting tattoos to pay sales tax on their body art, there would essentially be two ways the shop could handle it.

"You have the option of absorbing the tax and basically staying the way you are and saying OK it's a small percentage we have to pay out to keep going,” Wolfenbarger said. “If you have to raise prices a little bit, normally there's a raise in cost with everything, whether it be with your rent, products in a store, cost goes up all the time so I don't think people would just be super surprised if the price of tattoos go up a little bit."

Governor Mary Fallin was unavailable for an interview Thursday but sent a statement to 7News saying it is important that legislators look at every possible solution, including businesses that are tax exempt and others.

"We need to look at online sales taxes, where the state has lost out on $300 million,” Fallin said. “I also plan to again suggest raising the cigarette taxes, and I have a panel that is reviewing the many economic incentives we offer to ensure they are still applicable, appropriate and valuable."

Fallin also said that the change would help other businesses across the state,

“If tax reform is done properly, looking at sales tax exemptions offers a potential opportunity to reduce the state sales tax rate, which is currently the sixth-highest in the nation,” Fallin said.

Wolfenbarger says if the change is made, he would need to evaluate what others in his profession are doing before making a decision for his business.

“The tattoo business is competitive, you'll have to see what other studios in town are doing and such,” Wolfenbarger said.

Ultimately, he says he doesn't think any of these changes would have that significant of an impact on the industry or put anyone out of business.

"I hear that about a lot of things, you know the recent liquor laws, there's a lot of people that are fretting over that,” Wolfenbarger said. “It just seems like anything that happens when people are going to have to deal with something new or a regulation or pay a little more, it immediately worries them. But I mean you just can't get too excited, everything works itself out, you know. I don't think it will put us out of business, I don't think it'd put a lot of them out of business.”

Ultimately, any decision to begin charging sales tax on those businesses would ultimately need to be made by legislators, not Governor Fallin.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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