South Carolina Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Steve French is rolling out a three-pronged plan that he says will “double the size” of the Palmetto State’s economy within a decade.

French – a Lowcountry, S.C. small businessman – says a package of spending cuts, tax cuts and the elimination of antiquated prohibitions is needed to “turn South Carolina’s economy around and allow our citizens to prosper.”

And unlike “Republican” leaders who have done nothing but pay lip service to less government and lower taxes since taking power over a decade ago, French is outlining specific policies in support of his objectives.

First, French would scale state government spending back to 2010-11 levels – or “pre-Nikki Haley” levels.

“Government spending in South Carolina continued to grow during the recession even as hardworking people across the country had to tighten their belts,” French said in unveiling his plan.

So … is French’s spending “scale-back” an across-the-boards reduction?  No.  He says he would achieve the long-overdue government shrinkage via targeted cuts – including cuts to new and nonessential programs.

“We should start cutting spending by eliminating all the new programs that have been proposed over the past four years,” French says. “We could adjust for population growth in certain areas by cutting nonessential programs.”

On taxes, French is embracing proposals put forward by Republican S.C. Senators Katrina Shealy and Tom Davis – both of whom have called for the elimination of the state’s income tax (read about Shealy’s draft legislation HERE).

“The nine states with no income tax have created over 63 percent of the jobs in this country over the past decade,” French said. “South Carolina needs to be the tenth (state).”

We agree wholeheartedly …

“Several other candidates have paid lip service to removing the income tax,” French said. “But they either want to either raise taxes to make up for lost revenue or have never even bothered to come up with a realistic road map to achieve this end.”

As with Shealy’s proposal, French would “pay for” his tax relief with cuts to unnecessary government (and take advantage of the resulting economic growth).

Finally, French wants to legalize gambling and decriminalize marijuana in the Palmetto State – which according to him “would help broaden the tax base” and “lighten the load on South Carolina citizens.”

“South Carolina is well positioned to become an even larger tourist destination by allowing private gambling,” French said. “South Carolina also spends over $150 million simply arresting and convicting people for simple possession. This savings along with the increased tax revenue from the sale of marijuana would be applied directly to the taxpayers, not to increasing the size of government.”

We concur … in both respects (HERE and HERE).

French is the only candidate running for governor to propose specific tax and spending cuts – and his campaign spokesman tells FITS that more substantive fiscal policy is on the way.  By contrast, “Republican” Nikki Haley has staked out on fiscally liberal positions taxesspendingeducation and (most notably) government-subsidized health care – i.e. the exact opposite of what she said she would do when campaigning as the “Tea Party” favorite in 2010.