One of the legislature’s key leaders in putting together the spending plans for state programs, services, and institutions is leaving.

Senator Chuck Gross of St. Charles says the good part of being senate appropriations chairman is being able to able to address important needs, and funding programs that help people. The hard part has been in saying "no" because the state never has enough to address the needs people bring to it.

He says constant, repetitive discussion and investigation is what leads to good decisions.

Missouri is a low-tax, low-spend state. Gross says he has always seen his role as appropriations chair as making sure the state uses good judgment in spending what the people give it.

But he says the school funding lawsuit working its way through the courts is a big black cloud over the state budget. He says it’s a budget that could not only change the way the state spends money on education, but the entire way the legislature writes the state budget.

Gross is leaving a year before term limits would have forced him out to become the Director of Administration for St. Charles County.

download Bob Priddy’s story (:62 mp3)