What the governor gets paid in every state

Governor: The boss of your state. The big shot. The guy or gal in charge. He or she must be pulling in the big bucks, right?

Yes. And no.

Even the lowest-paid United States governor earns more than the current U.S. median income of just over $59,000. But given that the governor of a state is its chief executive officer, he or she could make a lot more as a private-sector CEO. (Think: seven or eight figures instead of five to six.)

Some of the nonsalary benefits are pretty sweet, though. For example, 44 states provide a residence for their top dog, and 46 states subsidize their governors’ travel.

You get bodyguards or state police protection. And you wield a lot of power, including the chance to issue executive orders and, in states that have the death penalty, the option of declaring a stay of execution.

Where does your state’s highest-ranking official rank on the pay scale? Read on and find out, starting with the lowest-paid:

51 PHOTOS
Governors' salaries across the US
See Gallery
Governors' salaries across the US

Maine: $70,000

Governor: Paul LePage

Age: 69

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population (U.S. Census Bureau estimate for 2016): 1,331,479

Gov. LePage comes from hardscrabble stock: One of 18 children, he ran away at 11 and supported himself for two years as a shoeshine boy. In 2016, his wife, Ann, took a summer waitressing job to save up for a new car. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Colorado: $90,000

Governor: John Hickenlooper

Age: 65

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2010

State population: 5,540,545

The Colorado governor knows the value of a dollar. He says he approaches state budgeting with the frugal lessons learned from his mother, who lost her husband when John was young. She made all of her own clothes, and washed and reused plastic wrap, aluminum foil and waxed paper. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Arizona: $95,000

Governor: Doug Ducey

Age: 53

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 6,931,071

Photo credit: Reuters 

Oregon: $98,600

Governor:
 Kate Brown

Age: 57

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2016

State population: 4,093,465

The former Oregon secretary of state, Brown won a special election after former Gov. John Kitzhaber had to resign due to an ethics scandal. She is one of only a few state governors not born in the United States — she was born in Spain when her father was serving in the Air Force. She is also the first openly bisexual U.S. governor (married to a man). 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Kansas: $99,636

Governor: Sam Brownback

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 2,907,289

Nebraska: $105,000

Governor: Pete Ricketts

Age: 53

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 1,907,116

Gov. Ricketts reports his net worth is between $45 million and $50 million. He is the son of the founder of TD Ameritrade, and the Ricketts family trust owns a majority of the Chicago Cubs; Ricketts himself is on the team’s board of directors. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Wyoming: $105,000

Governor: Matt Mead

Age: 55

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 585,501

Photo credit: Getty 

South Carolina: $106,078

Governor: Henry McMaster

Age: 70

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 4,961,119

Former Lt. Gov. McMaster was sworn in on Jan. 24, right after former Gov. Nikki Haley was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He will serve as governor until January 2019 — unless, of course, he decides to run again and is re-elected.

Photo credit: Getty 

Montana: $108,167

Governor: Steve Bullock

Age: 51

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2013

State population: 1,042,520

Photo credit: Getty

Utah: $109,470

Governor: Gary Herbert

Age: 70

Party: Republican

Served since: 2009

State population: 3,051,217

Former Lt. Gov. Herbert became governor in 2009 after former Gov. John Huntsman’s appointment by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China. Herbert was elected to serve remainder of that term in a 2010 special election. He was re-elected in 2012 and again in 2016. 

Photo credit: Getty

New Mexico: $110,000

Governor: Susana Martinez

Age: 58

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 2,081,015

Gov. Martinez is New Mexico’s first female governor, and she is the first female Hispanic governor in the United States. A former Democrat, she switched parties in 1995. 

Photo credit: Getty

New Hampshire: $110,834

Governor: Chris Sununu

Age: 42

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 1,334,795 

Photo credit: Getty

Indiana: $111,688

Governor: Eric Holcomb

Age: 49

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 6,633,053

Appointed as a replacement lieutenant governor in March 2016 by then-Gov. Mike Pence, he planned to run for election to a full term in that role. In July, however, Pence was chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate. At that point, Holcomb withdrew from the race in hopes of being chosen as the Republican party’s replacement gubernatorial candidate. He was, and won election in 2016. 

Photo credit: Getty

South Dakota: $112,214

Governor: Dennis Daugaard

Age: 64

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 865,454

The first child of deaf parents to be elected as a U.S. governor, he grew up using American Sign Language as the family’s primary language at home. Daugaard was raised on a family farm, and his early education took place in a one-room rural school. 

Photo credit: Getty

Alabama: $119,950

Governor: Kay Ivey

Age: 73

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 4,863,300

After serving as the first female lieutenant governor in Alabama history, she became governor in April 2017 when Gov. Robert J. Bentley resigned after a sex scandal brought him to the verge of impeachment.

Photo credit: Reuters 

Mississippi: $122,160

Governor: Phil Bryant

Age: 62

Party: Republican

Served since: 2012

State population: 2,988,726 

Photo credit: Reuters

Minnesota: $123,427

Governor: Mark Dayton

Age: 70

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2011

State population: 5,519,952 

Photo credit: Reuters

Idaho: $124,436

Governor: Butch Otter

Age: 75

Party: Republican

Served since: 2007

State population: 1,683,140

Photo credit: Getty 

North Dakota: $129,096

Governor: Doug Burgum

Age: 61

Party: Republican

Served since: 2016

State population: 757,952

A former Microsoft executive, Gov. Burgum is a native of Arthur, North Dakota. During his campaign he vowed to give his salary back to the citizens; his first step was in May 2017, when he donated more than $50,000 to addiction recovery services in the state. (His wife, Kathryn, is open about having been in recovery herself for 15 years.) 

Photo credit: Getty

Iowa: $130,000

Governor: Kim Reynolds

Age: 58

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 3,134,693

The former lieutenant governor succeeded Gov. Terry Branstad, who resigned to become the U.S. ambassador to China. She is the first woman to hold the office. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Louisiana: $130,000

Governor: John Bel Edwards

Age: 51

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2016

State population: 4,681,666 

Photo credit: Reuters

Florida: $130,273*

Governor: Rick Scott

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 20,612,439

*Gov. Scott, a former businessman whose net worth has been estimated in the millions, does not accept a salary. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Rhode Island: $132,710*

Governor: Gina Raimondo

Age: 46

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2015

State population: 1,055,607

*Gov. Raimondo is eligible for a salary of $139,695. However, after taking office she gave herself a 5 percent pay cut.

Photo credit: Getty 

Missouri: $133,821

Governor: Eric Greitens

Age: 43

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 6,093,000

A former Navy SEAL, Rhodes Scholar and White House fellow, Gov. Greitens has written three books and founded a nonprofit group, The Mission Continues, which helps veterans find volunteer work. 

Photo credit: Getty

Georgia: $139,339

Governor: Nathan Deal

Age: 75

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 10,310,371 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Kentucky: $139,056

Governor: Matt Bevin

Age: 50

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 4,436,974

Photo credit: Reuters 

Arkansas: $141,000

Governor: Asa Hutchinson

Age: 66

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 2,988,248 

Photo credit: Reuters

North Carolina: $142,265

Governor: Roy Cooper

Age: 60

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2017

State population: 10,146,788

Photo credit: Getty

Alaska: $145,000

Governor: Bill Walker

Age: 66

Party: Independent

Served since: 2014

State population: 741,894

This former Republican ran as an independent on the Alaska First Unity Ticket. Fun fact: He’s eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund, the annual payout to state natives. This year it was $1,100; it should have been more, but it was capped two years ago by none other than … Gov. Walker.

Photo credit: Reuters 

Oklahoma: $147,000

Governor: Mary Fallin

Age: 62

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 3,923,561

Gov. Fallin is the first female chief state executive in Oklahoma’s history. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Wisconsin: $147,328

Governor: Scott Walker

Age: 49

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 5,778,708

Gov. Walker survived a recall election in 2012. In July 2015, he announced his candidacy for the president of the United States; he ended his campaign about two months later. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Ohio: $148,886

Governor: John Kasich

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 11,614,373

Gov. Kasich also had a short run at the 2016 GOP nomination for president. He announced his candidacy in July 2015 and dropped out of the race in May 2016. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Hawaii: $149,556

Governor: David Ige

Age: 60

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2014

State population: 1,428,557 

Photo credit: Getty

Nevada: $149,730

Governor: Brian Sandoval

Age: 54

Party: Republican

Served since: 2010

State population: 2,883,758

Gov. Sandoval, the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in Nevada, was the youngest person ever to head the Nevada Gaming Commission and also the youngest to serve as a U.S. District Court judge. Some suggested he could be presidential material, but he did not declare a candidacy in 2016. After the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, some news media reported that Sandoval was being vetted as a potential candidate for the court. In late February 2016, the governor issued a statement that he did not wish to be considered at the time, although the idea was “beyond humbling” and he was “incredibly grateful” to be mentioned.

Photo credit: Getty

Connecticut: $150,000

Governor: Dannel “Dan” Malloy

Age: 62

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2011

State population: 3,576,452

Gov. Malloy experienced dyslexia during his childhood, and even now says he cannot write or type well. However, he did develop an excellent memory that allows him to speak without relying on notes. 

Photo credit: Getty

Maryland: $150,000

Governor: Larry Hogan

Age: 61

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 6,016,447 

Photo credit: Getty

Texas: $150,000

Governor: Greg Abbott

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 27,862,596 

Photo credit: Getty

West Virginia: $150,000

Governor: Jim Justice

Age: 66

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 1,831,102

Although elected as a Democrat, Gov. Justice announced in August 2017 that he was switching to the Republican Party. This act meant that the Republicans controlled 34 U.S. governorships, the most since 1922. 

Photo credit: Getty

Massachusetts: $151,800

Governor: Charlie Baker

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2014

State population: 6,811,779 

Photo credit: Getty

Michigan: $159,300

Governor: Rick Snyder

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 9,928,300 

Photo credit: Getty

Vermont: $160,135

Governor: Phil Scott

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 624,594

A former stock-car driver, Gov. Scott created a program called “Wheels for Warmth,” which encourages Vermont residents to donate unwanted tires. Any tires that are eligible for reuse are sold, and the proceeds donated to heating fuel assistance programs. (The other tires get recycled.) 

Photo credit: Getty

Washington: $166,891

Governor: Jay Inslee

Age: 66

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2013

State population: 7,288,000

The 2012 race was the state’s first vote-by-mail-only election. The count was so close that his opponent did not officially concede right away.

Photo credit: Getty

Delaware: $171,000

Governor: John Carney

Age: 61

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2017

State population: 952,065

Photo credit: Reuters 

New Jersey: $175,000

Governor: Chris Christie

Age: 55

Party: Republican

Served since: 2010

State population: 8,944,469

Gov. Christie holds the state’s record for bond ratings downgrades during a gubernatorial term: eight of them since January 2010. Once considered a potential GOP presidential nominee, he ended his campaign after the “Bridgegate” scandal, in which staff members and political appointees of Christie colluded to close lanes on the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge specifically to create a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The governor acknowledged that political fallout was “a factor” in not being chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Virginia: $175,000

Governor: Terry McAuliffe

Age: 60

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2014

State population: 8,411,808

Gov. McAuliffe ran in 2009 for the governorship but finished a distant second in the primary. That same year he was sued by Ralph Nader, who claimed that McAuliffe and others had worked to deny him ballot access in the 2004 presidential election; at that time McAuliffe had been chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The suit was dismissed. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Illinois: $177,412*

Governor: Bruce Rauner

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 12,801,539

*The governor takes only a $1 salary, and turns down all benefits, including travel expenses and pension. 

Photo credit: Reuters

California: $177,467

Governor: Jerry Brown

Age: 79

Party: Democratic

Served since: Off and on since 1975

State population: 39,250,017

Edmund Gerald Brown Jr., the son of California’s 32nd governor, Edmund Gerald “Pat” Brown Sr., first served as California’s governor from 1975 to 1983; because he had been elected before the 1990 term limits law, he was permitted to run again in 2010. He was elected for a fourth term in 2014. In addition to the governorship, he has also been the California secretary of state, the state attorney general and the mayor of Oakland.

Photo credit: Reuters

New York: $170,050*

Governor: Andrew Cuomo

Age: 59

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2010

State population: 19,745,289

Does the name sound familiar? It should: The governor is the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

*Andrew Cuomo gave himself a 5 percent pay cut from the office’s $179,000 salary upon assuming office.

Photo credit: Reuters

Tennessee: $187,500*

Governor: Bill Haslam

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 6,651,194

As mayor of Knoxville, he balanced six consecutive city budgets, which resulted in the city’s lowest property tax rates in half a century. Known for his love of historic structures, Haslam spent four years on the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (under President George W. Bush). In addition to the governorship, he is part-owner of a minor league baseball team called the Tennessee Smokies (affiliated with the Chicago Cubs).

*Gov. Haslam does not accept a salary. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Pennsylvania: $190,823

Governor: Tom Wolf

Age: 68

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2015

State population: 12,784,227

Gov. Wolf is the highest-paid governor in the United States. Lucky him! 

Photo credit: Reuters 

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah. Click here to sign up for our free newsletter.

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.