Congress yesterday got a step closer to something that would ensure that the internet remains the economic powerhouse it is: a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

The Wall Street Journal notes:

On Wednesday congressional negotiators signed and posted their conference report on a trade facilitation bill, which includes the permanent ban on email and Internet access taxes that online consumers have long desired. Since 1998 the Internet Tax Freedom Act has protected the Web from multiple or discriminatory taxation. The idea is simple: Do not allow state and local tax collectors to impose Internet-only taxes. There should be no burdens on this online engine of innovation that do not exist in the off-line world of bricks and mortar.

This is a separate issue from the eternal debate over sales taxes and whether the federal government should give states and localities new powers to force tax-collection duties on out-of-state merchants. But until now the popular ban on taxing Internet access services has been held hostage by the sales-tax debate. The most recent extensions of the Internet Tax Freedom Act have been measured in months.

That political hostage-taking, led by Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Mike Enzi of Wyoming, now appears to have ended. The conference report will go to the House and Senate floors and is expected to pass. (We hear the former hostage takers are now trying to get their remote-sales tax scheme into the pending omnibus spending bill, so keep an eye out.)

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A strong pro-growth, pro-consumer message from Washington has become a political unicorn, more fabled than existing, but it looks like this sighting may be real.

We've repeatedly warned about the danger that the government is going to step in and ruin this economic success story with taxes (here, here, and here, for starters). Let's keep our fingers crossed on this.