Highest- and Lowest-Paid Governors in America Both Have a Knack for Scandal
What does $175,000 buy you in a governor? A whole lot of disapproval.
You might expect the lowest-paid governor in the country to go off and accuse a political opponent of giving "it to the people without providing Vaseline." But money in politics doesn't buy you everything: The nation's highest-paid governor has plenty of problems of his own.
The salary reports, based on new data compiled in an interactive map by Pew's Stateline, show that Maine Gov. Paul LePage ($70,000) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett ($187,256) have, respectively, the lowest and highest salaries of any governor in the country. Corbett, however, has refused cost-of-living adjustments, so he takes home only about $175,000. Other governors in the high range include New York's Andrew Cuomo, Tennessee's Bill Haslam, Illinois's Pat Quinn, California's Jerry Brown, and Virginia's Bob McDonnell. Governors on average are paid $133,348 a year.
But, according to Corbett's constituents at least, more money doesn't mean better value. A mid-June poll showed Corbett trailing Democrat Rep. Allyson Schwartz by 46 percent to 34 percent in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign. And 65 percent of Pennsylvania voters said they either don't think Corbett deserves a second term or they lean that way. Corbett is also dealing with the lingering aftermath of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal, which he is blamed for mishandling when he was the state's attorney general.
For his part, LePage is considering not even seeking reelection in 2014. It's not just the recent Vaseline comments that have dragged him down. LePage's favorability was at 37 percent in a recent Critical Insights poll, and a new Clarity Campaigns poll has him in a tight race with Democrat Rep. Michael Michaud. Add to that the fact that he just recently considered a run for Congress, before knocking the idea down this week. You can see why the guy may not want to bother running again.
Also of note from the data collected by Pew: In 2013, the governors of Idaho, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee got raises. Oh, and so did Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett. The raises averaged $4,115.