The highest and lowest governor’s salaries of 2020

Welcome to the Monday, July 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How much did your governor make last year?
  2. Tracking August mayoral elections
  3. COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

How much did your governor make last year?

Eighteen states paid their governor more last year than in 2019, according to the Council of State Governments’ Book of the States. Gubernatorial salaries in 2020 ranged from a low of $70,000 in Maine to a high of $225,000 in New York, with the average governor making $145,370. In the 18 states where a governor’s salary increased, the average increase was $6,604, or 4.3%. Washington was the only state to decrease its governor’s salary, registering a 0.5% decrease over the 2019 rate.

The states with the five highest gubernatorial salaries in 2020 were New York ($225,000), California ($209,747), Pennsylvania ($201,729), Tennessee ($198,780), and Massachusetts ($185,000). The states with the five lowest gubernatorial salaries were Maine ($70,000), Colorado ($92,700), Arizona ($95,000), Oregon ($98,600), and Nebraska ($105,000). Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon have been in the bottom five states for gubernatorial compensation since at least 2010. Only New York has been in the top five in every year since 2010. New York was also the state with the largest increase in gubernatorial salary in 2020, with a $25,000 increase relative to 2019.

Gubernatorial salaries are typically determined either by a state’s constitution or by statute. Most often, the salary portion of a governor’s compensation is defined by law, but additional benefits (insurance, official residence, and other work-related equipment) may be established by state agencies, custom, or other factors. For instance, 45 states subsidize the governor’s travel and 45 states have official gubernatorial residences.

In some cases, salaries automatically increase each year either at the rate of inflation or by another percentage chosen by the legislature. In other states, the legislature must pass salary increases for the governor. Five states have increased their governor’s salaries in each of the past three years: Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Vermont.

Find out how your governor’s salary compares to others’ at the link below.

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Tracking August mayoral elections

Although July tends to see a decrease in election-related activity, it never fully halts. And already, we’re looking to quickly-approaching August elections. Today, I wanted to give you a rundown of the mayoral races happening on Aug. 3. Let’s take a look at five races in particular.

  • Topeka, Kansas: Five candidates are running in the nonpartisan primary. Incumbent Michelle De La Isla is not running for re-election. She has served as mayor since 2018.
  • Detroit, Michigan: Ten candidates are running in the nonpartisan primary. Incumbent Mike Duggan is running for re-election. He has served as mayor since 2014. Economic development and public safety have been major issues in the race.
  • Lansing, Michigan: Six candidates are running in the nonpartisan primary, including incumbent Andy Schor. Schor has served as mayor since 2018.
  • Seattle, Washington: Fifteen candidates are running in the nonpartisan top-two primary. Incumbent Jenny Durkan is not running for re-election. Durkan has served as mayor since 2017. Each candidate has argued that their background best equips them to address issues including pandemic recovery, policing and public safety, affordable housing and homelessness, and transit.

The mayors of 63 of the country’s 100 largest cities are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Twenty-six mayors are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are Independent, and seven are nonpartisan or have no known affiliation.

To track all upcoming races, click below to view our elections calendar.

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COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans: 

  • On July 13, 2020, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) reimposed some coronavirus restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases, including once again prohibiting indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Indoor dining had been permitted since June 1. The state also closed state parks to out-of-state visitors and visitors who cannot prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement expanded to include anyone exercising in a public space.

Federal government responses: 

  • On July 16, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter that the Department of Homeland Security would extend its prohibition on nonessential travel with Canada and Mexico through Aug. 20.

School reopenings: 

  • On July 17, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list would begin the public school year with online education only. At the time of the announcement, 33 of the state’s 58 counties were on the watch list.

Mask requirements: 

  • On July 15, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced a statewide mask order requiring individuals to wear masks inside certain businesses and at outdoor gatherings of greater than 50 people where social distancing was not possible. 

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.