Economic Justice

Our goal: Enable all people to participate in the region’s thriving economy and attain economic security

SPUR’s Five-Year Priorities:

• Develop and seed ideas that redress the fundamental inequity in the distribution of resources in our region.

• Grow and improve public support systems so that all people seamlessly receive the benefits they are eligible for and need to thrive in the Bay Area.

• Remove the financial burden placed on low-income families and people of color by making taxes, fees, and fines more equitable.

Find more Economic Justice research
  • SPUR Report

    Mending the Net

    Long before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, California had the highest poverty rate in the nation. The state is also one of the worst at getting benefits to those who need them, with some programs missing over a million eligible people. Streamlining and automating the application process would help Californians receive the public support they have a right to.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Undue Burden

    Sales taxes are a common revenue-raising tool, but they also play a role in reinforcing structural inequality. Every consumer pays the same tax rate at the register, but low-income households pay a higher percentage of their income. In a new report, SPUR explores three options for instituting a low-income sales tax credit or supplement to help create a more equitable tax code.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Economic Prosperity Strategy

    The Bay Area has one of the strongest economies in the world, but its benefits are not universally shared. How can we make sure the region’s rising economic tide lifts all boats? We identify a three-pronged approach to economic mobility for low- and moderate-wage workers.

    Read More

Updates and Events

How Do Fines and Fees Hurt Californians — and What Can the State Do About It?

News February 9, 2021
Fines and fees are an often-overlooked aspect of California’s criminal legal system. A recent SPUR forum took a close look at the role these charges play in a starkly inequitable, illogical and unjust system. Our panelists discussed the harms caused by fines and fees, why they cost too much, who they impact most and how to end biased enforcement.

Ladders Out of Poverty

SPUR Report January 26, 2021
Tens of thousands of households in the Bay Area struggle to pay their bills each month, a situation only worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The region should look to the promise of unrestricted cash transfer programs, which give people money with no specific requirements on how it is spent. SPUR looks at the successes of existing programs and offers five possible options to consider.

Where Do We Go From Here? SPUR Sets New Vision and Long-Range Goals

News January 26, 2021
With vaccines rolling out and stable national leadership in place, we can trust that we will, eventually, reemerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question now is: Reemerge into what? To return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. To meet this moment, SPUR has articulated a bold vision statement and evolved our organizational mission.

Keeping the Water On

SPUR Report January 14, 2021
Due to COVID-19, Governor Newsom has issued a moratorium on shutting off water service when people can’t pay their bills. But eventually, customers who have fallen behind will face either paying a large lump sum or losing water service. SPUR proposes a combination of solutions that can prevent shutoffs for vulnerable families while preserving the financial health of water agencies.

Mending the Net

SPUR Report December 7, 2020
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, California had the highest poverty rate in the nation. The state is also one of the worst at getting benefits to those who need them, with some programs missing over a million eligible people. Streamlining and automating the application process would help Californians receive the public support they have a right to.

Keeping the Lights On

SPUR Report December 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders have thrown businesses — and especially small businesses — into survival mode. Are there ways to help businesses so that pandemic-induced failures don’t ripple through the real estate and lending industry? In collaboration with small business owners and advocates, this fall SPUR offers ideas for addressing the rent challenges for small businesses, landlords and bankers.

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on SPUR projects and events.

Sign up for our newsletters