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Congress may extend new Internet tax ban

New state or local taxes that single out the Internet would be permanently banned under bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday in Congress, but the bill would not deal with existing sales taxes.

The bill's main sponsors, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., said people on both sides of the sales tax debate agree the three-year ban on new Internet taxes should be extended indefinitely.

"Our bill simply says you can't stick it to the online world," Wyden said. "We shouldn't discriminate against the most vibrant part of the economy."

The law enacting the temporary ban, which expires in October 2001, also created a congressional commission to recommend future tax policy. Its report is due in April.

"The current hands-off tax policy is working," Cox said.