Gov. Jerry Brown says he is filing a ballot initiative to ask California voters to increase taxes on themselves to generate more money for schools and public safety.

Brown posted an open letter to Californians on his website Monday. The Democratic governor says he wants to temporarily increase taxes on the rich and raise the statewide sales tax by half a cent, to 7.75 percent.

The proposal would raise about $7 billion a year for 5 years.

Brown says he is going "directly to the voters because I don't want to get bogged down in partisan gridlock." He failed to reach a tax compromise in the state Legislature earlier this year.

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway of Tulare dismissed the proposal as part of a plan to increase government spending.