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


2022 Election Delivers Mixed Results for SPUR Priorities

News /
SPUR developed several ballot measures during the latest election cycle, and its research heavily influenced a handful of others. Bay Area voters considered measures on streamlining housing approvals, continuing pandemic-era slow streets programs, enacting good government reforms and funding programs to address air quality and climate change. While we didn’t win ’em all, we’re pleased to see a number of SPUR’s ideas gaining traction around the region.

Why Food Insecurity Is Still High in California — and What the State Can Do About It

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With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and food insecurity greatly increased in California, and enrollment in CalFresh — the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — went up significantly. As need has significantly increased, especially for Black and brown Californians, too many of the state’s residents still don’t have enough to eat. This article looks at ideas to help eliminate hunger in California, including automatic enrollment, targeted outreach, state administration of CalFresh, permanently streamlining enrollment and expanding pilot programs that help low-income Californians afford more fresh foods.

SPUR’s Work Inspires Bridge Toll Reform Law, but There’s More to Be Done

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Last month Governor Newsom signed AB 2594, a bill sponsored by Assemblymember Phil Ting that reforms the way California agencies handle bridge and road tolls. Inspired by SPUR’s report Bridging the Gap, AB 2594 helps modernize the toll system and reduce the harms caused by fines and fees for missing a toll payment. AB 2594 is an important first step in reforming inequitable tolling practices across California, but there’s still more work to be done.

Research Fellows and Interns Make Major Contributions to SPUR’s Work

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During the last two academic years, SPUR has been fortunate to host a talented group of policy researchers through partnerships with graduate school fellowship and practicum programs. Their research has contributed to SPUR’s work, including policy changes and proposed legislation at the regional and state levels. Learn more about the work they’ve done with SPUR and what they’ve gone on to do after collaborating with us.

California Leaders Invest in Economic Security

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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.

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

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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.