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.