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Gov. Jerry Brown stumps for taxes at churches

October 21, 2012 |  1:26 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown takes his tax plan to church

Gov. Jerry Brown pitched his tax plan at two Bay Area churches Sunday, quoting the Gospel and pledging to send more money to schools.

With less than three weeks until election day Nov. 6, Brown has been spending more time on the campaign trail rallying support for Proposition 30, his plan to temporarily raise the sales tax and levies on the wealthy. If the taxes aren't approved, he says, billions of dollars will be cut from public schools.

Brown, who traded seminary for law school and politics five decades ago, found receptive audiences at both churches. His first stop was the Third Baptist Church near Alamo Square in San Francisco, where he was introduced as "the one and only Jerry Brown."

Mattie Collins, 84, said she supported the tax hikes, echoing the feelings of several congregants. 

"If I have to raise my taxes to help the state, I don't mind," she said.

Brown then headed to Acts Full Gospel Church near the Coliseum in Oakland. Like he has often done while pushing his tax plan, he cited a passage from Luke while explaining why the wealthy should pay more, saying "to whom much is given, much will be required."

Added Brown, "This election day, you'll make sure it's required."

Anthony Johnson, 56, said he was pleased the governor was targeting the rich in his tax plan.

"That's what they need to do," he said. "Go after them."

Not everyone liked all of Brown's message. At one point in his speech, when discussing higher taxes on the wealthy, he said, "I'm sure nobody here has to worry about that particular tax."

Lisa Smith, 44, described that comment as "a slap in the face" for a church in a city struggling with poverty and its stigmas.

"We have members that are rich," she said.


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Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown campaigns in August for Proposition 30, a November ballot initiative that would temporarily increase sales and income taxes. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press