Gov. Jerry Brown, campaigning at a Sacramento church this morning, called on California's religious leaders to engage in a "campaign of civic activism" to pass his ballot initiative to raise taxes.
"We've got to take this message to the schools, to the colleges and, yes, to the churches, to the faith community that knows that man doesn't live by bread alone," the former seminarian told about 200 clergy members from throughout the state at Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
The event comes as the Democratic governor moves to broaden support for his tax campaign even before the measure is qualified for the November ballot. Brown is expected to submit signatures early next month.
Members of PICO California, a network of faith-based community organizations, said they will embark on a campaign to urge 100,000 new and infrequent California voters to support the tax initiative.
"For far too long we have disinvested in our communities," the Rev. George Cummings, founding pastor of Imani Community Church in Oakland, told the crowd. "The time has come for us to begin to reinvest in our schools, and in the programs and services that will restore fiscal stability to our state."
Brown, who proposes to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, said wealthy Californians have "been blessed, and they must join with us in blessing those that have not been as fortunate."
Church leaders said they are collecting signatures for Brown's initiative at their churches.