Equality protesters in downtown San Francisco

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.

 

Read our policy agenda

Homeless Camp

SPUR Report

Mending the Net

Long before COVID-19, 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. Streamlining the application process would help Californians receive the public support they have a right to.
Bay Area Market

SPUR Report

Undue Burden

Sales taxes are a common revenue-raising tool, but they also play a role in reinforcing structural inequality. SPUR explores three options for creating a more equitable tax code.
More Harm Than Good

SPUR Report

More Harm Than Good

California’s system of fines and fees is causing significant financial harm to low-income, Black, and Latinx communities in the Bay Area. California should eliminate its reliance on punitive fees and introduce more effective ways to promote behavior that supports safety and the greater social good.
Ladders Out of Poverty

SPUR Report

Ladders Out of Poverty

Thousands of Bay Area households struggle to pay their bills each month, a situation 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.
 Economic Prosperity Strategy

SPUR Report

Economic Prosperity Strategy

The Bay Area has one of the strongest economies in the world, but the benefits are not universally shared. Over a third of the workforce earns less than $18 an hour. How can we make sure the region’s rising economic tide lifts all boats?

Updates and Events


California Leaders Invest in Economic Security

News /
With the passage of a $17 billion inflation relief package, the California Legislature and Governor Newsom built on the economic stimulus efforts of the past two years by getting cash into the hands of Californians and investing in programs to help people make ends meet. By continuing to invest in helping people who have been most destabilized by the pandemic, and who suffer the most under inflation, California can take meaningful steps toward building economic security for all people.

Proposed “Parking Cash-Out” Bill Aims to Level the Commute Playing Field for Non-Drivers

News /
A bill to give California commuters more options for sustainable transportation is getting strong support. Assembly Bill 2206 would make it easier for employers to implement a California law known as parking cash-out, which requires companies that provide free employee parking to offer the cash equivalent to those who choose not to drive to work. SPUR explored the benefits of parking cash-out at a digital discourse earlier this year.

Moving San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income Programs From Pilot to Policy

News /
During the pandemic, federal stimulus funds sent as cash transfers gave many people the money they needed to survive. Organizations across the country started cash transfer programs to help those who needed it most. These bold moves helped bring guaranteed income to the forefront of a national conversation on how best to alleviate poverty and tackle growing income inequality. SPUR recently participated in an effort to begin turning San Francisco’s guaranteed income pilot programs into permanent policies.

How to Make California’s Budget Surplus a Good Deal for the Climate

News /
California is dangerously behind on cutting carbon emissions, but this year’s budget surplus can be a weapon in the fight to address climate change, with Governor Newsom announcing plans to spend $37 billion over the next six years on climate resilience. Here are SPUR’s suggestions for how to focus those resources on eliminating fossil fuels in buildings, securing safe and abundant water, ending car dependence, improving transit, building affordable housing where we need it and more.

Recommendations to MTC for Equity in Tolling Pilot Plan

Advocacy Letter
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is considering implementing a payment plan pilot to help people who are dealing with unpaid tolls, fines, and fees. Our coalition asks that they design a payment plan that is aimed at serving people with the least access to resources and applying those best practices broadly, so that there is both a low barrier to entry and policies that work for everyone. This plan would promote equitable outcomes and increase toll revenues, as people who would otherwise be unable to pay a lump sum will now be able to pay over time.

Burdens and Benefits

Research
California’s Proposition 13 is one of the most studied property taxes in the country, but how does it affect the lives of residents in Bay Area cities? SPUR’s research brief Burdens and Benefits explores how the law impacts homeowners in Oakland, with a look at who receives the largest benefits from the state’s unique property tax law and who shoulders the burdens from its constraints on revenues.