ALBANY -- For about 30 state legislators, being away from home, constant criticism, little individual recognition and no raise in 13 years have become too much.
In what may be a record number, at least 25 Assembly members and at least four senators say they are retiring from the 212-seat legislature. They have taken jobs with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration, are running for Congress or local government offices, or are just quitting.
For some, the motivation clear.
It's not a new complaint, but it's the core sentiment of many legislators who once ran cities, counties, businesses, law firms and classrooms before they got to Albany, where many found themselves limited.
New Yorkers who lose an incumbent will lack a representative with seniority, which matters in policy and spending decisions. For all New Yorkers, the result will be a legislature with fewer middle-aged lawmakers still trying to balance family budgets and dealing with emerging issues seen firsthand by having children in school.
What remains is an overrepresentation of people older than 65 who are former and part-time lawyers.
"I think there was a loss of satisfaction among members," said Assemb. John McEneny, (D-Albany) a historian who over 20 years earned bipartisan respect. "Certain incentives aren't there anymore." Miller and McEneny are among the retiring lawmakers.
Cuomo, citing abuses for political and personal gain that resulted in indictments against past legislators, cut member items -- money that legislators traditionally set aside for pet projects in their home districts. Former Gov. David A. Paterson eliminated the $200 million member items a year before to cut costs.
Lawmakers argued that they knew best how to help civic groups, schools, libraries and nonprofit health providers.
And frustration continues at the Albany tradition of negotiation of any major issue or spending by "three men in a room." Cuomo and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly made functioning a top priority in 2012 to counter gridlock and sharp partisanship that marked sessions before Cuomo took office in 2011. They avoided some major divisive issues such as raising the minimum wage -- a priority of Democratic rank-and-file lawmakers -- and providing tax breaks to encourage hiring -- a goal of Republicans.If productivity can be measured in the sheer number of bills agreed to by the Senate and Assembly, this year's session wasn't a banner year, which can add to lawmakers' frustration. The New York Public Interest Research Group reported the session produced the fewest agreed-to bills since at least 1914.