Small business drives the American economy. When small business suffers, the American economy suffers. Small businesses are the only realistic path to creating new jobs at a time where 40.5 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 are not in the labor force according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor force participation has now reached its lowest point in 38 years. In 2015, according to the Tax Policy Center, 45.3 percent of Americans paid no income tax. We know our system is broken and we need less government regulation so that we can innovate, participate and grow our economy from places like Pocatello.
We need to empower parents and increase the number of charters and other innovative schools in Idaho. Since education is the lion's share of Idaho's budget, we need accountability and detailed reporting of school performance. We should increase the number of post-secondary degree holders and technical and vocational program graduates in our State.
Clean air and water are some of Idaho's most precious gifts. We need to protect our resources that provide healthy living. A clean environment also attracts visitors and great talent to this State which contributes to a healthy economy. Water is critical for Idaho agriculture and future growth and we need to continue measures to protect our water and conserve use of power.
Cyber incidents are commonplace nowadays and threats from hackers and cyber terrorists are increasing. Idaho promotes online safety through its cyber security awareness program, but we need to do more to be ready to respond to states of emergency. We should have a cyber civilian corps made up of trained experts to assist the state in times of emergency. We should also ask for help from the cyber security experts at the Idaho National Lab's Cyber Security Research Department, the Office of the CIO, Attorney General, State Police, and National Guard and other public and private partners.
The so-called "sharing economy" is the name given to describe the entrepreneurial successes of companies like Airbnb and Uber. It is also known as collaborative consumption, primarily due to new technology that enables linking of online social networks and electronic markets. Idaho should embrace the new sharing economy and adopt policies that favor growth of peer-to-peer based access to goods and services.
Strong families are necessary to continue the American Dream. Idaho needs stable homes with mothers and fathers. We should should focus economic and social policy decisions on supporting families and teaching values that promote stability and self-reliance. Institutions that support families like civil society groups and churches should be supported.