77,000 Federal Employees Make More Than Their Own State Governors

Jerad McHenry | June 7, 2011 | 5:48pm EDT
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Eddie Box, center, blesses Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, second from left, as his son, Matthew Box, far right, chairman of the Southern Ute Tribe looks on, during inaugural ceremonies at the Capitol in Denver on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – As states and the federal government face tight budgets, and some people demand that governors take pay cuts, a new Congressional Research Service report finds that 77,000 federal employees make more money than their home state governors.

As of September 2009, Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, Alabama, and Florida had the most federal employees earning more than their governor.

Colorado, which topped the list as the state with the most federal employees earning more than the governor, had 10,875 employees who earned more than the $90,000 governor’s salary. Maryland was second, with 7,283 federal employees earning more than the $150,000 governor’s salary.

Colorado’s governor is one of the lowest paid governors in the nation, while Maryland’s gubernatorial pay is above the national average of $130,595 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), federal wages are expected to grow by 10 percent between 2010 and 2018. At the same time, governor’s salaries dropped an average of 4 percent in 2010, with California leading the nation decreasing its gubernatorial salary from $212,179 in 2009 to $173,987 in 2010.

In 2009, before the gubernatorial pay decrease, 709 federal employees in California made more than the governor. From 2009 to 2010, Florida decreased its gubernatorial salary by 2 percent, and Hawaii decreased its gubernatorial salary by 5 percent.

North Dakota, Iowa, and Kentucky gave their governors raises, but they do not expect to grant any more gubernatorial raises as state budget crises persist.

Almost a quarter of all federal employees earning more than the governor are medical officers.  Attorneys, engineers, program administrators, and air traffic controllers are the other largest groups to earn more than state governors.

According to BLS, federal workers made an average of $74,403 in 2009, 30 to 40 percent more than their private sector counterparts.

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