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.

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Updates and Events

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.

Time to Reform Bay Area Sales Taxes

News November 12, 2020
Taxes are more than revenue-raising tools: They reflect our collective sense of fairness and shared values. But most sales taxes are regressive, which means they hit low-income households hardest. A new SPUR report argues that a sales tax credit or similar cash benefit could address these impacts and advance a more just tax code and a more equitable region.

Undue Burden

SPUR Report November 12, 2020
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.

Downtown San José’s Momentum Slowed but Not Stopped

News October 23, 2020
After decades of efforts to attract investment, downtown San José was experiencing a rare moment in the spotlight before COVID-19. Big project announcements from Google, Adobe and others seemed to put within reach San José’s decades-old aspiration to become a lively urban center. Now, as the pandemic drags on, residents are left to wonder how much of downtown’s previous momentum will carry through the crisis.

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