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.

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.

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.

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.

Updates and Events


How Cities Can Support Ground Floor Business Survival

News /
SPUR has released Keeping the Doors Open, a set of 10 recommendations for cities to implement as they work to assist ground floor businesses in reopening while shelter-in-place orders remain in effect. We recommend three principles to keep in mind: move quickly and remain flexible, focus on neighborhoods, and center equity in the allocation of resources and staff time.

Four Tools for Stimulating Economic Recovery Through New Homebuilding

News /
During the last recession, homebuilding ground to a halt. We can’t let the same thing happen this time. What can be done to keep the pipeline of new housing open through this crisis and recovery? SPUR and the Terner Center offer four principles to help guide new housing construction and facilitate economic recovery.

Keeping the Doors Open

White Paper
COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency of determining how to best support human and economic activity, particularly on main streets and commercial corridors. SPUR recommends actions for cities to undertake immediately to assist businesses in opening promptly following the gradual lifting of shelter-in-place restrictions.

SPUR Supports the San José Al Fresco Initiative

Policy Letter
Outdoor community connections are essential for our wellbeing, quality of life, and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. SPUR supports the proposed San José Al Fresco Initiative to reopen businesses safely and further recommends additional policy measures to support small business and commercial districts throughout San José.

A Stimulus Will Put People to Work Faster by Building Lots of Smaller, Cleaner Projects

News /
Our state is in dire need of an infrastructure stimulus designed to put people back to work quickly. A traditional stimulus that funds huge, singular infrastructure projects like the Hoover Dam won't cut it. Instead, we need thousands of smaller, distributed projects that will get people back to work immediately, train them in fast-growing jobs and generate a healthier, low-carbon future of California.

SPUR Urges Congress to Include Another $1.3 Billion for Transit Funding in Fourth Federal Rescue Package

Policy Letter
SPUR urges Congress to: 1. Provide at least $1.3 billion to Bay Area transit for 18 months to enable states, regions, and local governments to help maintain our transit system and keep projects moving. 2. Provide a supplemental, large-scale transportation investment in the form of a Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act reauthorization. 3. Advance policies aimed at expediting transit and sustainable transportation project delivery.