Senator and Governors Salaries and Benefits
As of 2019, the annual salary of each senator is $174,000, with senate leadership earning up to $223,500 per year. Approximately 40% of senators are millionaires.
Along with earning salaries, senators receive retirement and health benefits that are identical to other federal employees, and are fully vested after five years of service. In 2006, the average annual pension for retired senators and representatives was between $35,952 and $60,972.
From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress only received a daily payment of $6.00 while in session. In 1855, members began receiving an annual salary of $3,000.
The average salary of a state governor in 2009 was $124,398. The highest salary currently being accepted is that of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at $225,000. The lowest salaries are those of Maine Governor Janet Mills and of Puerto Rico Wanda Vázquez Garced at $70,000.
There have been several instances where the governor of a state has either refused their salary in its entirety or instead only taken $1.00 per year. Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley refused his yearly salary of $119,950.00 until the state reached full employment. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder took a $1.00 yearly salary. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has returned his salary to the state during each year he has held office. During his tenure as Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger also did not accept his salary of $170,000 per year. However, several governors instead have decided to take a reduction in their salary instead of refusing it entirely. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took a 5 percent reduction in his salary in 2015, and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear reduced his salary by 10 percent during the same year.
Only seven states (Massachusetts, California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia) currently offer their governors a higher salary than the $174,000 paid to members of Congress. In many states, the governor is not the highest-paid state employee; most often, that distinction is held by the head football or men’s basketball coach at a major state university.