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  • California budget
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Jan. 10.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Jan. 10. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Seeking to capitalize on another year of unexpectedly strong tax revenue collections, Gov. Jerry Brown asked state lawmakers Wednesday to fully fund California’s rainy-day cash reserve fund to $13.5 billion by next summer, the largest cash reserve in state history.

Brown said the decision will help the state ready itself for the next recession, which he believes is already overdue.

“The only way you can prepare is to watch your spending every year and build up the rainy-day fund,” he said at a news conference in Sacramento to unveil his proposed $190.3-billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.

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Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown (Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown estimated Wednesday that the state will receive $643 million from excise taxes on marijuana during the first full year of legalization in California, much more than the cost to the state of issuing licenses and enforcing new rules.

Brown’s estimates are contained in the budget he proposed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and fall short of some past state projections that legalized cannabis could eventually bring $1 billion annually to the state’s coffers. This year, with only six months of taxing, the budget estimates $175 million in pot taxes.

“The amount and timing of revenues generated from the new taxes are uncertain and will depend on various factors including local regulations, and cannabis price and consumption changes in a legal environment,” Brown’s budget says.

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  • California budget
  • California Democrats
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
California Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey
California Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Diane Harkey, chairwoman of the state Board of Equalization, said Wednesday she’s jumping into the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, hours after the nine-term Republican said he wouldn’t seek reelection.

In a statement released by Harkey’s campaign, Issa said, “I strongly support Diane Harkey’s candidacy” and called her a “dedicated public servant and tenacious candidate.” Issa’s statement stopped short of calling it an endorsement.

Harkey said in a news release that she would “focus on keeping America safe and our economy strong and growing” if elected.

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  • Congressional races
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

Rep. Darrell Issa’s retirement announcement means Democrats have a better chance of winning the district, one election handicapper said Wednesday.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Wednesday he is moving the race from a tossup to their Leans Democratic category.

Issa of Vista is the second Southern California Republican to announce plans to retire this week. 

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

Vista Republican Rep. Darrell Issa will not run for a 10th term in Congress.

The former chairman of the House Oversight Committee narrowly won reelection in 2016 and was widely considered the most vulnerable incumbent in the House going into the 2018 election.

The richest man in Congress, Issa had already drawn a handful of well funded opponents.

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  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
Assemblymen Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) and Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) speak with reporters in Sacramento.
Assemblymen Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) and Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) speak with reporters in Sacramento. (John Myers/Los Angeles Times)

Saying it’s time for his party to regain its relevance in California, the former Assembly Republican leader said Tuesday he’s launched a new political organization to focus on issues where the GOP can find common ground with voters who now routinely elect Democrats.

“I think a lot of us are feeling very nervous about going into 2018 with the current dynamics that we’re facing today,” said Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley). “And I think, in large part, that’s because Republicans have failed to be able to reach out to folks, to average folks, in California.”

“They don’t think we care about them. They don’t think we are working for their benefit,” he said.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

A day after announcing he would retire at the end of 2018, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) has weighed in on who should replace him.

Royce has endorsed former state legislator Young Kim, a one-term assemblywoman who was unseated in a 2016 rematch with Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva. Kim worked in Royce’s district office before being elected to the Assembly.

“I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years,” Royce said in a statement. “She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant.”