While most Americans earn five-figure incomes (the national median wage is about $59,000 ), a few professions earn a lot more than that. Big time actors and actresses earn a ton of money. Famous athletes are worth a mint. Company executives make shocking amounts even when they’re hated CEOs. Politicians earn a lot, too. You heard that right. High-level politicians get paid well, as these outrageous governor salaries prove.
We know which governors make the most thanks to data from Ballotpedia. We’ll run into a couple hated governors (pages 5 and 11) and two well-liked Republicans (pages 3 and 6) along the way. None of the governors we’re about to meet makes as much as President Donald Trump’s $400,000 salary, but they come pretty close. Let’s get started.
14. Jim Justice (TIE)
State: West Virginia
Jim Justice built a fortune in the agricultural and coal businesses and doesn’t need the money, but he is well paid. He’s earning the $150,000 salary until 2020 when he’s up for re-election.
Next: This governor’s pay isn’t too out of whack with the rest of the state.
14. Dannel Malloy (TIE)
Make no doubt about it, Dannel Malloy’s $150,000 paycheck definitely qualifies as an
outrageous salary on a national level. In Connecticut, however, no one bats an eye. The per capita income in the state is more than $71,000. Pretty soon, a new person is going to take this six-figure salary. Malloy isn’t running in the 2018 election.
Next: He’s loved and well-paid.
13. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts is a state that always votes Democrat. Well, almost always. Charlie Baker bucked the trend when he won in 2014. We’d say he deserves one of the most outrageous governor salaries in the U.S. According to a Morning Consult poll, 69% of his constituents say he’s doing a great job. We’ll see another loved Republican governor from a Democratic state in a minute.
Next: It looks like this man will earn this big salary for a few more years.
12. Greg Abbott
He’s up for re-election in 2020, and it seems like Greg Abbott will keep hauling in one of the most outrageous governor salaries for a few more years. He is one of the most popular governors in the country, according to Morning Consult, and the last three governors in Texas — George W. Bush, Rick Perry, and Abbott — are all Republicans.
Next: He’s hated, well-compensated, and almost out of office.
11. Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder is one of the most-hated governors in the United States, but he probably can’t hear the criticism behind his stacks of money. His $159,300 paycheck is one of the highest governor salaries in the country. Michigan voters hate him, but they don’t have to put up with him for long. He is term-limited and will leave office in early 2019.
Next: A carbon-copy of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
10. Larry Hogan
Remember how we just discussed Charlie Baker as a successful Republican governor in Democratic-leaning Massachusetts? Well, Larry Hogan is in the same boat. Maryland tends to go blue, but according to Morning Consult data Hogan, who is up for re-election in 2018, is wildly popular, which makes up for his outrageous salary.
Next: This governor salary is more the double the average in the state.
9. John Carney
All the governors on this list earn healthy six-figure salaries, but John Carney might have one of the most outrageous governor salaries. The $171,000 he earns each year is close to three times the state median and more than double the average.
Next: A hero in a suit cashing a huge paycheck.
8. Jay Inslee
You might know Jay Inslee as the governor who called out Donald Trump to his face. Or you might know him as one of the heroes in the battle for legal marijuana. Now you know him as a man cashing in on one of the most outrageous governor salaries. He’ll make that $171,898 each year until at least 2020 when his current term expires.
Next: A newcomer with a nice paycheck.
6. Ralph Northam (TIE)
Now we’re getting into some of the most outrageous governor salaries. Ralph Northam is one of the newest governors on the list as he took over for Terry McAuliffe in 2018. Northam will cash in on a salary almost three times the national median until the 2022 election.
Next: This former Wall Street executive hardly needs a massive governor salary.
6. Phil Murphy (TIE)
State: New Jersey
Compared to the previous guy, Phil Murphy looks like an Angel. Almost everybody hated former governor Chris Christie, but he’s gone now and Murphy’s in charge. He hardly needs his huge salary. He’s a former Goldman Sachs executive who earns millions of dollars every year.
Next: He’s hated, he’s rich, and he’ll probably lose big when his term’s up.
5. Bruce Rauner
We just discussed Phil Murphy, the wealthy New Jersey leader who earns one of the most outrageous governor salaries. Bruce Rauner is the next level up from that. He’s one of the richest politicians in the United States, but he’s probably not going to make that government salary much longer. Fifty-five percent of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing, and the Huffington Post says it’s unlikely he wins a second term in 2018.
Next: He’s under pressure and really earning his massive salary.
4. Andrew Cuomo
State: New York
Andrew Cuomo either loves hitting the campaign trail or adores his huge governor salary. He’s running for a third term in 2018, but he might not even win the primary. Former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon is putting a lot of pressure on Cuomo.
Next: More than $180,000 but only No. 3 on the list.
3. Jerry Brown
When you’re making more than three times the national median, you know you’re talking about an outrageous salary. Yet somehow, Jerry Brown is only No. 3 on our list. He won’t be cashing huge paychecks for much longer. He’ll serve until early 2019 before he hits his term limit.
Next: A man who definitely doesn’t need the paycheck.
2. Bill Haslam
Bill Haslam definitely checks the box for outrageous governor salaries, but he hardly needs the money. He’s worth an estimated $2 billion thanks to being the heir to the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. Like the governor we just met, Jerry Brown, Haslam won’t have a job in 2019 after he reaches his term limit.
Next: We’re well into six figures now.
1. Tom Wolf
Being the governor of Pennsylvania is a lucrative job, as Tom Wolf knows. But as Ballotpedia shows, the leader of The Keystone State is usually one of the best-paid governors in the United States. Let’s give Wolf credit, though: He donates his salary to charity every year. Wolf might be looking for new work come November of 2018 since he’s up for re-election.
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