How Much State Legislators Are Paid Across the Country

Washington Capitol
Michelle Baumbach / Shutterstock.com

With Congress struggling to agree on anything, there may be days when you ask yourself whether politicians in Washington are earning their keep. It’s a good question to ask about local elected officials, too. State legislators have great influence on our day-to-day lives.

How much is your state paying these men and women to pass laws affecting you and your family? It depends. A few states have full-time legislatures requiring full-time hours; others have part-time hours and part-time pay.

Legislators’ 2020 salary and pay data, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, reveals a huge variety in how and how much each state pays its lawmakers. Our roundups include, where possible, the number of legislators a state employs, from federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Alabama

Alabama State House in Montgomery
Donald Walker / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $49,861 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $85 to $100 per day for overnight stays

Estimated employment in the state: 1,110 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Curious what the governor of Alabama or your state earns? Check out “How Much Is Your State’s Governor Paid?

Alaska

Alaska Capitol
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $50,400 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $287 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 180 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Residents of Alaska have their legislators to thank for the fact that Alaska is one of few states with no state income taxes of any kind, as we explain in “26 States That Don’t Tax Social Security Benefits.”

Arizona

The Arizona House of Representatives in Phoenix
BCFC / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $24,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $10 to $60 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 590 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Wondering why Arizona’s state legislators earn so little? The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that they have not received a raise since 1999.

Arkansas

Arkansas state capitol building in Little Rock
W. Scott McGill / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $42,428 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: Legislators who live within 50 miles of the Capitol receive $55 per day. Those living over 50 miles away get $151 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 1,310 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

California

California legislature
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $114,877 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 53 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $206 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 3,190 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

California has a full-time Legislature. Its lawmakers are the best-paid in the country, pulling in an annual salary of $114,877. That includes a raise of about 4% from their 2019 salaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Still, California legislators’ pay is nothing compared with that of the state’s governor — who earns more than any other governor in the U.S.

Colorado

Colorado Capitol
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $40,242 per year for terms starting in or after January 2019; $30,000 per year for terms beginning before then.

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 52 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: For legislators residing within 50 miles of the Capitol, $45 per day; for those over 50 miles away, $219 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 710 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Connecticut

Connecticut capitol building in Hartford
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $28,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: None

Estimated employment in the state: 440 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Connecticut is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend.

Delaware

Delaware legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $47,291 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 40 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: None

Estimated employment in the state: 150 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Delaware is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend. However, it differs from some states in that it pays a larger base salary, $47,291.

Florida

Tallahassee, Florida
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $29,697 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 44.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $152 per day for up to 50 days for senators and up to 60 days for representatives

Estimated employment in the state: 1,260 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Georgia

Georgia Capitol
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $17,342 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $173 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 1,650 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Georgia’s mileage reimbursement is tied to the federal rate, which is 57.5 cents per mile in 2020.

Hawaii

Hawaii Legislature
Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $62,604 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: For legislators residing outside the island of Oahu, where the Capitol is located in Honolulu, $225 per day. For those residing on Oahu (during the mandatory five-day recess only), $10 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 120 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Idaho

Idaho Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $18,415 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: For legislators residing within 50 miles of the Capitol, $71 per day; for those residing over 50 miles from the Capitol, $139 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 360 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Illinois

Illinois Capitol
Donald Walker / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $69,464 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Indiana

Indiana House of Representatives
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $27,204 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $184 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 1,650 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Alumni of Indiana’s Statehouse include the current vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, who earned a spot in “The 15 Most Beloved U.S. Politicians.”

Iowa

Iowa Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $25,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 39 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $169 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Kansas

Kansas Capitol
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $88.66 per calendar day

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.7 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 780 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Kansas is one of the states that doesn’t pay its legislators an annual salary. Instead, they get $88.66 per calendar day that they work in session. Plus, there is a $151 per diem to cover lodging, travel and other costs.

Kentucky

Kentucky legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $188 per day

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $166 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Like Kansas, Kentucky pays its legislators by the day worked. Kentucky lawmakers earn about $100 more per day than those in Kansas, however.

Louisiana

Louisiana Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $16,800 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $161 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 590 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

The last pay raise for legislators working at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge was in 1989.

Maine

Maine legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $14,862 for the first regular session and $10,582 for the second regular session

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 44 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $32 per day for meals and $38 per day for lodging (or, in lieu of lodging, mileage and tolls up to $38 per day)

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Legislators aren’t the only public servants in Maine who earn relatively little. Maine’s governor earns less than any other state governor in the country, as we detail in “How Much Is Your State’s Governor Paid?

Maryland

Maryland Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $50,330 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile; lawmakers receive $750 per year (taxable income) for travel within their district, but they may decline this allowance.

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $109 per day for lodging; $56 per day for meals

Estimated employment in the state: 650 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Capitol
Stefan Ugljevarevic / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $66,256 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: Instead of mileage reimbursement, legislators residing within 50 miles of the Capitol in Boston get a stipend of $16,248 for office expenses, which can be used for travel expenses; those residing over 50 miles from the Statehouse get a $21,664 stipend.

Per diem allowance for state legislators: The stipend described above covers per diem expenses.

Estimated employment in the state: 730 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Massachusetts is one of the nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend.

Michigan

Michigan legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $71,685 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: Instead of a per diem payment, legislators get an expense allowance of $10,800 for the session and interim.

Estimated employment in the state: 2,500 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Michigan is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend.

Minnesota

Minnesota Capitol
photo.ua / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $46,500 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: Senators receive $86 per day; representatives receive $66 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 1,450 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Mississippi

Mississippi Capitol
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $23,500 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 150 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Legislators are hardly the only public servants in Mississippi with relatively low wages. Missisippi’s grade-school teachers as well as its police officers and sheriff’s deputies are among the lowest-paid workers of their kind in the U.S.

Missouri

Missouri legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $35,915 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 43 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $121 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 1,250 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Montana

Montana Capitol
Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $92.46 per legislative day

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $120.11 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 300 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Members get a base amount for each legislative day as well as a per diem to cover the costs associated with attending the session in the state capital, Helena.

Nebraska

Nebraska legislature
Charles G. Haacker / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $12,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: For legislators who reside within 50 miles of the Capitol, $55 per day; for those residing over 50 miles from the Capitol, $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 1,340 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Nebraska lawmakers last got a raise in 1989.

Nevada

Nevada legislature
James Pintar / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $164.69 per calendar day up to 60 days. Senators who are not up for reelection until 2022 receive $159.89 per calendar day.

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 150 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Nevada legislators get paid per day, but they don’t have any incentive to drag out their duties longer than necessary. Their base pay maxes out at 60 session days.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $100 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile; alternatively, legislators can use the (taxed as income) state mileage reimbursement option: 38 cents per mile for the first 45 miles, and 19 cents per mile thereafter.

Per diem allowance for state legislators: No per diem paid

Estimated employment in the state: 210 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

New Hampshire is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend. In fact, lawmakers here are paid the least of any state. New Hampshire’s legislative pay has been $100 per year since 1889.

The state may be small and its lawmakers poorly paid, but it has the second-largest legislature in the nation, after the U.S. Congress. The General Court of New Hampshire, as it is called, has 400 representatives and 24 senators.

New Jersey

New Jersey Capitol
K.L. Kohn / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $49,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: No mileage reimbursement

Per diem allowance for state legislators: No per diem allowance

Estimated employment in the state: 2,780 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

New Jersey is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend. The last pay raise for New Jersey lawmakers was in 2001.

New Mexico

New Mexico Capitol
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: None

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile; alternatively, legislators can use the (taxed as income) state mileage reimbursement option of 38 cents per mile for the first 45 miles, 19 cents per mile thereafter.

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $192 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 500 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

New Mexico lawmakers earn no salary or base pay. They do, however, receive a per diem allowance of $192 per day, which means they take home more than New Hampshire’s legislators.

New York

New York Capitol
jiawangkun / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $110,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: When an overnight stay is involved, the per diem rate is $176 per day. Otherwise, it’s $61 per day.

Estimated employment in the state: 6,310 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Legislators in New York, which has a full-time legislature, are among the highest-paid in the U.S., coming in below the No. 1 state for lawmakers’ pay, California, and above the No. 3 state, Pennsylvania.

North Carolina

North Carolina Capitol
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $13,951 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 29 cents per mile with one round trip per week

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $104 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

The last time North Carolina legislators had a raise was in 1995.

North Dakota

North Dakota Capitol
Ace Diamond / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $515 per month

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $186 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 650 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

North Dakota legislators got a $10 pay raise in July 2020. Per diem pay also went up, by $5 per day.

Ohio

Ohio Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $65,528 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: Legislators who live outside Franklin County (where the state capital, Columbus, is located) receive 52 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: None

Estimated employment in the state: 2,300 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Ohio is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Capitol
Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $35,021 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $166 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 870 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Oregon

Oregon Capitol
JPL Designs / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $31,200 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 180 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Capitol
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $90,335 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $178 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 2,060 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Pennsylvania lawmakers are the third-most highly paid in the country, after California and New York lawmakers.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Capitol
wolffpower / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $15,959 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: None

Estimated employment in the state: 60 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Rhode Island is one of the nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend. Members of the Rhode Island Legislature receive not quite $16,000 per year for their work.

South Carolina

South Carolina Capitol
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $10,400 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 58 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $140 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 740 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

South Carolina legislators last had a raise in 1991.

While they earn a paltry $10,400 in base pay, their compensation amounts to significantly more after factoring in the per diem and expense allowances.

South Dakota

South Dakota Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $11,892 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: One trip is paid at 5 cents per mile, with 42 cents per mile for remaining trips

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $151 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Tennessee

Tennessee Legislature
Roman Korotkov / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $24,316 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 47 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: For legislators residing within 50 miles of the Capitol, $61 per day; for those living farther away, $284 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 350 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Tennessee residents have their state lawmakers to thank for the fact that, in 2021, Tennessee will become one of the few states that do not levy a state income tax, as we detail in “4 States Where Income Taxes Will Be Lower Next Year.”

Texas

Texas Capitol
Roschetzky Photograph / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $7,200 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 50 cents per mile by car; $1.21 per mile for single, twin and turbo engine airplanes

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $221 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 1,970 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Texas lawmakers last got a salary raise in 1976.

Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $393 per calendar day

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: None, though legislators residing more than 100 miles from the Capitol can be reimbursed for meal and lodging expenses

Estimated employment in the state: 590 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Utah is one of nine states that do not pay legislators a per diem stipend.

Vermont

Vermont legislature
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $742.92 per week during session

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: Lodging, $132 per day; meals, $66 per day

Estimated employment in the state: Data not available

Vermont is the only state in the nation that pays its lawmakers by the week.

Virginia

Virginia Capitol
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: Senators, $18,000 per year; delegates, $17,640 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $210

Estimated employment in the state: 450 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Virginia lawmakers haven’t had a raise since 1988. Base pay varies depending on which house of the Legislature they serve in, but all get the same $210 per diem payment.

Washington

Olympia, Washington
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $56,881

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $120 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 940 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

West Virginia

West Virginia Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $20,000 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 48.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $131 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 680 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $52,999 per year

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 51 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: Per diem payments are limited to 90 days per year. Senators receive $115 per day or $162 with overnight; representatives receive $81 per day with no added compensation for overnight.

Estimated employment in the state: 2,520 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

Wyoming

Wyoming Capitol
David Gilder / Shutterstock.com

Base pay for state legislators: $150 per day

Mileage reimbursement for state legislators: 57.5 cents per mile

Per diem allowance for state legislators: $109 per day

Estimated employment in the state: 60 (includes elected officials at all levels — local, tribal, state and federal)

The last time Wyoming legislators saw a raise in salary was in 2005.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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