Governors get paid as little as $70,000 and as much as $191,000 a year in the United States, and that's not including the lavish perks such as free lifetime healthcare and access to taxpayer-owned vehicles and jets many receive for their work as their state's top executive.
A couple of notes about the following information on U.S. governor salaries, however: Not all governors actually take home that amount of money. Some governors voluntarily take pay reductions or return part or all of their salaries to the state treasuries.
And, in many states, governors aren't the highest-paid public officials. That's surprising given the important role governors play; they serve as the chief executive officers of their states. Governors often are seen as potential candidates for president of the United States given their experience operating entire states, much larger role then those held by members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, who are but one member of a larger body.
Who Sets the Governor's Salary?
Governors are not able to set their own salaries. Instead, states legislatures or independent salary commissions set the salaries for governors. Most governors are also eligible for automatic pay raises every year, or cost-of-living adjustments that are based on inflation.
Here's a list of the what the 10 highest-paid governors earn, according to the Book of the States, which is published by the Council of State Governments. These data are from 2016.01of 10
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania governors earn the highest salary in the United States. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has decline his salary of nearly $190,000. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images News
Pennsylvania pays its governor the most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $190,823. The governor of Pennsylvania is Democrat Tom Wolf, who unseated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014. Wolf, a businessman who is independently wealthy, has declined his state salary, however, saying he sees himself as a "citizen-politician."02of 10
TennesseeTennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. U.S. Department of Agriculture/Lance Cheung
Tennessee pays its governor the second-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $184,632. The governor of Tennessee is Republican Bill Haslam. Like Wolf in Pennsylvania, Haslam does not accept a government salary and instead returns the money to the state treasury.03of 10
New YorkNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo. James Devaney/Getty Images News
New York pays its governor the third-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $179,000. The governor of New York is Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who cut his own salary by 5 percent.04of 10
CaliforniaCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
California pays its governor the fourth-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $177,467. The governor of California is Democrat Jerry Brown.05of 10
IllinoisIllinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Paul Warner/Getty Images
Illinois pays its governor the fifth-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $177,412. The governor of Illinois is Republican Bruce Rauner.06of 10
New Jersey and VirginiaNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be a potential presidential candidate in 2016. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News
New Jersey and Virginia pay their governors the sixth-highest salary of any in the United States. The salary is set at $175,000 in those two states. The governor of New Jersey is Republican Chris Christie, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 presidential nomination after failing to shake off a political scandal during his administration. The governor of Virginia is Democrat Terry McAuliffe.07of 10
Delaware pays its governor the seventh-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $171,000. The governor of Delaware is Democrat Jack Markell.08of 10
WashingtonWashington Gov. Jay Inslee. Mat Hayward/Getty Images
Washington pays its governor the eighth-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $166,891. The governor of Washington is Democrat Jay Inslee.09of 10
MichiganMichigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Paul Warner/Getty Images
Michigan pays its governor the ninth-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at $159,300. The governor of Michigan is Republican Rick Snyder. He returns all but $1 of his salary, according to the Council of State Governments.10of 10
MassachusettsMassachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. Paul Marotta/Getty Images
Massachusetts pays its governor the tenth-most of any governor in the United States. The salary is set at 151,800. The governor of Massachusetts is Republican Charlie Baker.
Which Governors Get Paid the Least?
Now that you know which governors make the most money, you're probably interested in finding out which states pay their top executives the least. Here are the lowest-paid governors in the United States: Only six U.S. states pay their governors less than $100,000 a year. They are Maine ($70,000), Arkansas ($87,759), Colorado ($90,000), Arizona ($95,000), Oregon ($98,600) and Kansas ($99,636).