Special Report

What America’s Governors Are Paid in Every State

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Families Belong Together LA

Governors are the highest-ranking public official in a state government, effectively serving as chief executives. While the general job description is the same across the 50 states, the details can vary considerably by state. Key differences include state-specific policy priorities and legislative hurdles, population size, and of course, compensation. 

Unlike senators, who are also elected on a state by state basis, there is no set salary for governors. While senators earn an annual salary of $174,000 (though most senators are worth far more — this is how rich every U.S. senator is), governors’ salaries vary by state — from as little as $70,000 to more than $200,000. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2019 salary information from The Council on State Governments, a policy database, to identify how much America’s governors are paid in every state.

Despite their status as the highest-ranking public officials in state governments, governors are usually not the highest paid state employees. Reasons for this vary from state to state. Often, various state departments pay their leadership larger salaries in order to compete with the private sector for top talent. In politically divided states, a pay raise for the governor may lack the necessary legislative support. Also, importantly, governors do not typically run for office for the paycheck.

While there is no hard and fast rule, generally, states with larger populations have higher governor salaries. Similarly, states that collect more taxes on a per capita basis tend to pay their governors more than states that collect less taxes. Here is a look at how much Americans are paying in taxes on a state by state basis.

Click here to see what America’s governors are paid in every state
Click here to read our methodology

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

50. Maine: Janet Mills (D)
> Salary: $70,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,168 per capita (13th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 1.6% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,338,404 (9th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Maine

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Source: Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images

49. Colorado: Jared Polis (D)
> Salary: $90,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,354 per capita (13th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 3.2% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 5,695,564 (21st highest)

See all stories featuring: Colorado

Source: Maury Phillips / Getty Images

48. Arizona: Doug Ducey (R)
> Salary: $95,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $1,979 per capita (6th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 3.6% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 7,171,646 (14th highest)

See all stories featuring: Arizona

Source: Natalie Behring / Getty Images

47. Oregon: Kate Brown (D)
> Salary: $98,600
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,876 per capita (21st highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 0.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 4,190,713 (24th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Oregon

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Source: Photo by Mark Reinstein / Corbis via Getty Images

46. Kansas: Laura Kelly (D)
> Salary: $99,636
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,806 per capita (24th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 10.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 2,911,510 (16th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Kansas

45. Nebraska: Pete Ricketts (R)
> Salary: $105,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,658 per capita (22nd lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 10.4% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,929,268 (14th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Nebraska

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Source: Courtesy of Mark Gordon

44. Wyoming: Mark Gordon (R)
> Salary: $105,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,847 per capita (23rd highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 4.8% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 577,737 (the lowest)

See all stories featuring: Wyoming

Source: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

43. South Carolina: Henry McMaster (R)
> Salary: $106,078
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $1,956 per capita (5th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 9.6% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 5,084,127 (23rd highest)

See all stories featuring: South Carolina

Source: Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images

42. New Mexico: Lujan Grisham (D)
> Salary: $110,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,766 per capita (25th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 6.7% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 2,095,428 (15th lowest)

See all stories featuring: New Mexico

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Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

41. South Dakota: Kristi Noem (R)
> Salary: $113,961
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,103 per capita (9th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 11.8% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 882,235 (5th lowest)

See all stories featuring: South Dakota

Source: Photo by Steve Pope / Getty Images

40. Montana: Steve Bullock (D)
> Salary: $115,505
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,527 per capita (16th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 5.4% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,062,305 (8th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Montana

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Source: Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

39. Alabama: Kay Ivey (R)
> Salary: $120,395
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,137 per capita (10th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 13.3% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 4,887,871 (24th highest)

See all stories featuring: Alabama

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

38. Indiana: Eric Holcomb (R)
> Salary: $121,331
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,708 per capita (24th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 10.2% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 6,691,878 (17th highest)

See all stories featuring: Indiana

Source: tmabaker / Flickr

37. Mississippi: Phil Bryant (R)
> Salary: $122,160
> Present term: Jan. 2016 – Jan. 2020
> State tax collections: $2,608 per capita (18th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 14.3% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 2,986,530 (17th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Mississippi

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Source: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

36. Minnesota: Tim Walz (D)
> Salary: $127,629
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $4,590 per capita (3rd highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 2.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 5,611,179 (22nd highest)

See all stories featuring: Minnesota

Source: Stephen Yang / Getty Images

35. North Dakota: Doug Burgum (R)
> Salary: $129,096
> Present term: Dec. 2016 – Dec. 2020
> State tax collections: $4,587 per capita (4th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 9.9% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 760,077 (4th lowest)

See all stories featuring: North Dakota

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34. Iowa: Kim Reynolds (R)
> Salary: $130,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,101 per capita (16th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 10.2% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,156,145 (20th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Iowa

Source: Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

33. Louisiana: Bel Edwards (D)
> Salary: $130,000
> Present term: Jan. 2016 – Jan. 2020
> State tax collections: $2,371 per capita (14th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 9.9% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 4,659,978 (25th highest)

See all stories featuring: Louisiana

Source: Eva Marie Uzcategui / Getty Images

32. Florida: Ron DeSantis (R)
> Salary: $130,273
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $1,917 per capita (4th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 0.1% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 21,299,325 (3rd highest)

See all stories featuring: Florida

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Source: 139aw / Flickr

31. Missouri: Mike Parson (R)
> Salary: $133,821
> Present term: June 2018 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,044 per capita (7th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 10.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 6,126,452 (18th highest)

See all stories featuring: Missouri

Source: Csununu / Wikimedia Commons

30. New Hampshire: Chris Sununu (R)
> Salary: $134,581
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $1,859 per capita (2nd lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 5.8% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,356,458 (10th lowest)

See all stories featuring: New Hampshire

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29. Idaho: Brad Little (R)
> Salary: $138,302
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,627 per capita (21st lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 7.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,754,208 (12th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Idaho

Source: Sara D. Davis / Getty Images

28. North Carolina: Roy Cooper (D)
> Salary: $144,349
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,614 per capita (19th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 8.7% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 10,383,620 (9th highest)

See all stories featuring: North Carolina

27. Alaska: Mike Dunleavy (R)
> Salary: $145,000
> Present term: Dec. 2018 – Dec. 2022
> State tax collections: $1,608 per capita (the lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 4.4% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 737,438 (3rd lowest)

See all stories featuring: Alaska

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Source: Paul Morigi / Getty Images

26. Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo (D)
> Salary: $145,755
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,083 per capita (17th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 1.4% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,057,315 (7th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Rhode Island

Source: Kelly White / Public Domain

25. Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt (R)
> Salary: $147,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,180 per capita (12th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 11.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,943,079 (23rd lowest)

See all stories featuring: Oklahoma

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Source: Matt Sullivan / Getty Images

24. Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson (R)
> Salary: $148,134
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,168 per capita (14th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 13.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,013,825 (18th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Arkansas

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

23. Kentucky: Matt Bevin (R)
> Salary: $148,781
> Present term: Dec. 2015 – Dec. 2019
> State tax collections: $2,673 per capita (23rd lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 12.1% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 4,468,402 (25th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Kentucky

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

22. Nevada: Steve Sisolak (D)
> Salary: $149,573
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,877 per capita (20th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 2.4% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,034,392 (19th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Nevada

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Source: The Office of Governor Ned Lamont / Wikimedia Commons

21. Connecticut: Ned Lamont (D)
> Salary: $150,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $4,555 per capita (5th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 8.0% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,572,665 (22nd lowest)

See all stories featuring: Connecticut

Source: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

20. Utah: Gary R. Herbert (R)
> Salary: $150,000
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,525 per capita (15th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 3.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 3,161,105 (21st lowest)

See all stories featuring: Utah

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Source: Justin Merriman / Getty Images

19. West Virginia: Jim Justice (R)
> Salary: $150,000
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $2,804 per capita (25th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 13.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,805,832 (13th lowest)

See all stories featuring: West Virginia

Source: Dylan Buell / Getty Images

18. Wisconsin: Tony Evers (D)
> Salary: $152,756
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,129 per capita (15th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 7.6% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 5,813,568 (20th highest)

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Source: Justin Merriman / Getty Images

17. Ohio: Mike DeWine (R)
> Salary: $153,650
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,599 per capita (17th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 11.1% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 11,689,442 (7th highest)

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Source: Erich Schlegel / Getty Images

16. Texas: Greg Abbott (R)
> Salary: $153,750
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $1,894 per capita (3rd lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 3.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 28,701,845 (2nd highest)

See all stories featuring: Texas

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

15. Hawaii: David Ige (D)
> Salary: $158,700
> Present term: Dec. 2018 – Dec. 2022
> State tax collections: $4,924 per capita (2nd highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 18.5% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 1,420,491 (11th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Hawaii

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Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

14. Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D)
> Salary: $159,300
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,874 per capita (22nd highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 7.0% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 9,995,915 (10th highest)

See all stories featuring: Michigan

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images

13. Maryland: Larry Hogan (R)
> Salary: $170,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,569 per capita (11th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 9.4% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 6,042,718 (19th highest)

See all stories featuring: Maryland

Source: Mark Makela / Getty Images

12. Delaware: John Carney (D)
> Salary: $171,000
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $3,731 per capita (9th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 0.1% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 967,171 (6th lowest)

See all stories featuring: Delaware

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Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

11. Georgia: Brian Kemp (R)
> Salary: $175,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,150 per capita (11th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 7.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 10,519,475 (8th highest)

See all stories featuring: Georgia

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

10. New Jersey: Phil Murphy (D)
> Salary: $175,000
> Present term: Jan. 2018 – Jan. 2022
> State tax collections: $3,590 per capita (10th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 12.9% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 8,908,520 (11th highest)

See all stories featuring: New Jersey

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Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images

9. Virginia: Ralph Northam (D)
> Salary: $175,000
> Present term: Jan. 2018 – Jan. 2022
> State tax collections: $2,623 per capita (20th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 2.1% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 8,517,685 (12th highest)

See all stories featuring: Virginia

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

8. Illinois: JB Pritzker (D)
> Salary: $177,412
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,967 per capita (18th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 1.5% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 12,741,080 (6th highest)

See all stories featuring: Illinois

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Vermont: Phil Scott (R)
> Salary: $178,274
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $5,015 per capita (the highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 2.5% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 626,299 (2nd lowest)

See all stories featuring: Vermont

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Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

6. Washington: Jay Inslee (D)
> Salary: $183,072
> Present term: Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2021
> State tax collections: $3,240 per capita (12th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 6.4% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 7,535,591 (13th highest)

See all stories featuring: Washington

Source: Isaac Brekken / Getty Images

5. Massachusetts: Charlie Baker (R)
> Salary: $185,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $4,012 per capita (7th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 7.9% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 6,902,149 (15th highest)

See all stories featuring: Massachusetts

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Source: Photo by Terry Wyatt / Getty Images

4. Tennessee: Bill Lee (R)
> Salary: $194,112
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,069 per capita (8th lowest)
> Statewide cost of living: 9.6% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 6,770,010 (16th highest)

See all stories featuring: Tennessee

Source: Mark Makela / Getty Images

3. Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (D)
> Salary: $194,850
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $2,956 per capita (19th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 2.1% less than nat’l avg.
> State population: 12,807,060 (5th highest)

See all stories featuring: Pennsylvania

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

2. New York: Andrew Cuomo (D)
> Salary: $200,000
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $4,014 per capita (6th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 15.8% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 19,542,209 (4th highest)

See all stories featuring: New York

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Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

1. California: Gavin Newsom (D)
> Salary: $201,680
> Present term: Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2023
> State tax collections: $3,936 per capita (8th highest)
> Statewide cost of living: 14.8% more than nat’l avg.
> State population: 39,557,045 (the highest)

See all stories featuring: California

Methodology

To identify America’s highest paid governors, 24/7 Wall St. consulted the most recent governor compensation data in the 2019 Book of the States chapter on the state executive branch, originally published by The Council of State Governments.

Each governor’s present term in office and party affiliation is also from the Council of State Governments.

State tax collections per capita for fiscal year 2017 are from tax policy advocacy group Tax Foundation’s Facts and Figures 2019. Regional price parity figures by state for 2017 are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total population figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey and are 1-year estimates.

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