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Governors’ Salaries, 2013
The Council of State Governments has been collecting dataon governors’ salaries for
The Book of the States
since 1937.In recent years, the average governor’s salary has grown moreslowly than in the past, with a number of states cutting theirchief executive’s pay during and after the Great Recession.
Governors’ salaries in 2013 range from a low of $70,000 peryear to a high of $187,256.
•The average annual salary for U.S. governors in 2013 is$133,348.•Maine Gov. Paul LePage, with an annual salary of $70,000, earns the lowest salary, followed by ArkansasGov. Mike Beebe, who earns $86,890 per year.•Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania hasthe highest gubernatorial salary—$187,256—but he hasrefused at least three cost-of-living adjustments duringhis tenure, making his actual pay closer to $175,000. NewYork Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s salary of $179,000 per yearranks second among governors’ salaries.•Governors in 21 states earn more than the average salary.•Governors in three states—Alabama, Florida andTennessee—either do not accept a paycheck or theyreturn their salaries to the state, while Michigan Gov.Rick Snyder returns all but $1 of his salary to the state.Several governors have taken voluntary salary reduc-tions in recent years.
Governors’ salaries have been cut in some states andincreased in others during and since the recession.
•Governors in a handful of states—Idaho, Indiana,North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, SouthDakota and Tennessee—saw their salaries increase in2013 over 2012 levels. The average salary increase forthese eight governors was $4,115, or 3.2 percent.•Only once during the past 10 years has the average an-nual salary for governors decreased. In 2010, the averagesalary fell slightly, from $131,115 to $130,595, in largepart because the salary for California’s governor wasreduced by 18 percent based on recommendations fromthe state’s Citizens Compensation Commission. Prior tothe reduction, the governor’s salary was the highest in thecountry—$212,179. Florida and Hawaii also cut pay fortheir top executive branch ofcial in 2010.•Although a number of states reduced governors’ sala-ries from 2003 to 2009, those reductions were offset byincreases in other states, making the average annualchange for governors’ salaries a 2.8 percent increaseover this period.•Since the 2010 decrease, the average governor’s salaryhas grown more slowly than in the previous decade,increasing less than 1 percent each year. That is due, inlarge part, to the widespread salary freezes that haltedcost-of-living adjustments for public employees, whichhave persisted since the recession.
The average governor’s salary in 2013 is very close to whatit was 75 years ago, when adjusted for ination.
•The average salary for a governor in the 48 states was$7,823 in 1937. When adjusted for ination, the aver-age salary for a governor in 1937 becomes $126,575— just 5 percent shy of the average salary in 2013.•In 1937, the governor of New York collected the high-est salary, earning $25,000 a year. That $25,000 salaryin 2013 dollars would be worth $404,500—more thandouble what Cuomo earns today.•The governor of South Dakota earned the least of anygovernor in 1937—$3,000—which is equal to $48,540in today’s dollars, or less than half of Gov. DennisDaugaard’s current $100,972 salary.
Jennifer Burnett, CSG Program Manager, Fiscal and Economic Policy |firstname.lastname@example.org