Depending on the position, a politician can stand to make a good living. If you're planning to get rich on a politician’s salary, however, stay away from Maine. Their state representatives earn salaries that put them just above the federal poverty line. They're better off than state reps in New Mexico, a state that doesn't pay its representatives any base wage, instead relying on per diem and reimbursements to cover their work expenses like travel, gas money, and meals. In other states, a single term in office would result in a pretty hefty financial haul.
Stacker ranked the most lucrative states for politicians in ascending order based on each state’s governor’s salary and state representative salary. The wages were compiled using 2019 data from the Council of State Governments for governor salaries and 2020 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures for state representative salaries.
Governor salaries are straightforward and to the point. The path to determining state representative wages, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. Their pay is a combination of base pay, which is estimated for 40 out of 50 states, plus per diems according to an average congressional session length—which is the period of time the representative actually spends working. Different state officials also get paid differently; when there was a wage discrepancy between a state senator and representative, for example, Stacker used the lower number to calculate the rankings.
It's also worth noting that every state pays its representatives differently according to their legislative calendar, the location of the state capitol, how often representatives must travel or stay overnight, and state statutes. While the base salary stays consistent unless it is increased, the per diem wage rules can vary immensely between states.
Read on to find out just how many taxpayer-funded dollars your state pays its politicians.
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