He filed a ballot initiative Monday for the November 2012 election.
It calls for an income tax increase on the wealthiest Californians by as much as 2 percent for the next five years.
That would apply to families earning more than $500,000 a year.
The measure also includes a temporary sales tax hike from half a cent to 7.75 percent.
The proposal would raise about $7 billion a year for five years.
Brown says without the new revenue, the state would be forced to make more cuts to education and social services.