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


SPUR Supports the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act

Advocacy Letter
The 2022 Statewide Housing Plan estimates that California needs to build 2.5 million units of housing over the next eight years. Yet California averages less than 100,000 new units per year and has never produced more than 20,000 new affordable homes in any year. AB 2011 will do just that. It pairs the ability to build housing by right on underutilized commercial sites with strong labor standards that ensure all construction workers earn prevailing wages and receive health benefits. SPUR and its partners support AB 2011.

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.

Bridging the Gap

SPUR Report
The Bay Area’s current system for collecting unpaid bridge tolls hurts hundreds of thousands of people across the region. This system disproportionately harms lower-income and working people by relying on punitive tools like fines, fees and car registration holds to promote toll payment. SPUR recommends steps to reduce the harms caused by the unpaid tolls system and begin to move toward an equitable tolling system.