Comparison of state legislative salaries
This page contains a comparison of salaries for state legislators in the 50 states. This page was last updated in May 2014, using data from NCSL.
How legislators are paid
Salaries of state legislators are determined in four ways.
- Nineteen states use a commission of some kind to determine what the fair salary of legislators in that state would be. The powers of these commissions vary from non-binding reports to reports that are implemented unless voted down by the legislature or not approved by the governor.
- In two states, Arizona and Nebraska, any recommendation must be approved by voters before going into effect, whereas similar commissions in California and Washington can raise or lower legislative salaries at will.
- Some states tie legislative salaries to those of other state employees
- Other states allow the legislators themselves to approve their own salaries.
No matter how they are determined, salaries of state legislators are a hot button issue. While frequently drawing the ire of the press and the public, many both inside and outside of state government agree that keeping compensation competitive is key to keeping the state legislature open to more people. "It’s clear that with higher salaries you get a broader range of people serving in the legislature that more accurately reflects the population as a whole," said Peverill Squire of the University of Missouri.
Highs and lows
Paid $90,526/year, California's legislators earn $6,514 more per year than the next highest-paid lawmakers in Pennsylvania. Legislators in Mississippi earn the lowest yearly salary, at $10,000 per year. Legislators in New Mexico are the only ones to make no salary; though they do earn $159/day in per diem.
The following table details the salaries and per diem compensation for state legislators across the country.
|Alabama||$10/day||$4,308/month plus $50/day for three days during each week that the legislature meets during any session.|
|Alaska||$50,400/year||$234/day (depending on the time of year); tied to the federal rate. Legislators who reside in the Capitol area receive 75% of the federal rate.|
|Arizona||$24,000/year||$35/day for the first 120 days of the regular session and for special sessions and $10/day thereafter. Members residing outside Maricopa County receive an additional $25/day for the first 120 days of the regular session and for special sessions and an additional $10/day thereafter. Set by statute.|
|Arkansas||$15,869/year||$148/day plus mileage; tied to the federal rate.|
|California||$90,526/year||$141.86/day for each day in session.|
|Colorado||$30,000/year||$183/day for members who live more than 50 miles from the Capitol; $45/day for members who live 50 or fewer miles from the Capitol.|
|Connecticut||$28,000/year||No per diem is paid.|
|Delaware||$44,041/year||$7,334 expense allowance annually.|
|Florida||$29,697/year||$129/day based on the number of days in session. Travel vouchers are filed to substantiate.|
|Georgia||$17,341.68/year||$173/day, set by the Legislative Services Committee.|
|Hawaii||$57,852/year||$175/day for members living outside Oahu during session; $10/day for members living on Oahu.|
|Idaho||$16,438/year||$122/day for members establishing a second residence in Boise; $49/day if no second residence is established and up to $25/day travel. Set by the compensation commission.|
|Illinois||$67,836/year; members are required to forfeit one day of compensation per month||$111/day|
|Indiana||$24,140.16/year||$156/day; tied to the federal rate.|
|Iowa||$25,000/year||$135/day; $101.25/day for Polk County legislators. Set by the legislature to coincide with the federal rate. State mileage rates apply.|
|Kansas||$88.66/day||During interim committee meetings, members receive $129/day, tied to federal rate, plus round trip tolls and mileage reimbursement at 56¢. All legislators receive $354.15 (U) for 20 pay periods ($7,083), considered taxable income.|
|Kentucky||$1,788.51/month||$188.22/day; tied to the federal rate (110% of the federal per diem rate).|
|Louisiana||$16,800/year plus additional $6,000/year expense allowance||$153/day; tied to the federal rate.|
|Maine||$13,852/year for first regular session; $9,661/year for second regular session||$38/day for lodging, or mileage and tolls in lieu of housing (at a rate of $0.44/mile up to $38/day) plus $32/day for meals. Set by statute.|
|Maryland||$43,500/year||$101/day for lodging; $42/day for meals. Tied to the federal rate and the compensation commission.|
|Massachusetts||$60,032.60/year||$10–$100/day, depending on distance from the State House; set by the legislature.|
|Michigan||$71,685/year||$10,800/year expense allowance for session and interim; set by the compensation commission.|
|Minnesota||$31,140.90/year||$86/day for senators and $66/day for representatives, per approval of the committee chair or leadership. Set by the legislature.|
|Missouri||$35,915/year||$103.20/day; tied to the federal rate. Verification of per diem is by roll call.|
|Nebraska||$12,000/year||$129/day for members residing 50 miles or more from the Capitol; $46/day for members inside the 50-mile radius.|
|Nevada||$146.29/day for maximum of 60 days of session||$152/per day|
|New Hampshire||$200/two-year term||No per diem is paid.|
|New Jersey||$49,000/year||No per diem is paid.|
|New Mexico||None||$159/day; tied to the federal rate.|
|New York||$79,500/year||$172/full day (including overnight); $61/partial day.|
|North Carolina||$13,951/year||$104/day; set by statute. $559/month expense allowance.|
|North Dakota||$162/day during legislative sessions; $162/day for attending interim committee meetings||Lodging reimbursement up to 30 times 70% of the daily lodging rate ($1,569 per month as of 10/1/2013).|
|Ohio||$60,583.70/year||No per diem is paid.|
|Oklahoma||$38,400/year||$153/day; tied to the federal rate.|
|Oregon||$22,596/year||$129/day; tied to the federal rate|
|Rhode Island||$14,947.34/year||No per diem is paid.|
|South Carolina||$10,400/year||140/day for meals and housing for each statewide session day and committee meeting; tied to the federal rate.|
|South Dakota||$6,000/session; $129/day for interim committees||$110/legislative day; set by the legislature.|
|Tennessee||$20,203/year||$188/legislative day; tied to federal rate.|
|Texas||$7,200/year||$150/day; set by ethics commission.|
|Utah||$273/day||$95/day lodging allotment for each calendar day; $39/day meals.|
|Vermont||$660.06/week during the legislative session only||$107/day for lodging (overnight stay) or $61/day for meals and mileage if commuting.|
|Virginia||$18,000/year for the Senate; $17,640/year for the House||$180/day for senators; $170/day for House members.|
|West Virginia||$20,000/year||$131/day during session; set by the compensation commission.|
|Wisconsin||$49,943/year||$88/day maximum; set by the compensation commission (90% of the federal rate). Per diem authorized under 13.123 (1), Wis. Statutes, and Leg. Joint Rule 85. 20.916(8) State Statutes. Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER) establishes the maximum amount according to recommendations of the Director of the Office of State Employment Relations. The leadership of each house determines, within that maximum, what amount to authorize for the session.|
|Wyoming||$150/day during session||$109/day, including travel days for those outside of Cheyenne; set by the legislature.|
- States with a full-time legislature
- Length of terms of state representatives
- State legislatures with term limits
- Legislative salaries per state, prepared by the Empire Center for New York State Policy