-- The next Washington rallying point for high-tech companies will be making the research and development tax credit permanent. With the credit set to expire in June, businesses such as biotech giant Genentech Inc. are gearing up a major lobbying effort. They're counting on strong support from President Clinton because high-tech companies are important to his industrial-policy strategy--not to mention his political fortunes in the key state of California. But there could be a battle looming for the techies next year. Congressional Republicans are vowing to cut taxes if they capture the House this fall, and Clinton may back a middle-class tax cut to revive his sagging Presidency. The industry wants to make sure the R&D tax credit isn't sacrificed.

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