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Panel Recommends Increased Salaries for Governor, Top Government Officials

A commission tasked with assessing the salaries of Maryland’s top government officials is recommending a pay raise after the 2022 elections.

The Governor’s Salary Commission, a seven-member panel appointed every four years, voted last week in favor of proposals to raise pay, which has remained static since 2018, for the governor and other statewide positions.

The General Assembly will decide in January whether to concur with the commission’s recommendations or lower the proposed increases.

The commission voted unanimously to increase the governor’s salary from the current $180,000 rate to $195,000 in 2026, an 8% increase.

The commission also voted in favor of a higher percentage increase for a middle tier of state government officials — lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, treasurer — from $149,500 to $175,000, a 17% increase.

The commission’s final recommendation would raise the pay for the secretary of state from $105,500 to $120,000 over the course of the four years.

All of the salary increases would be implemented over the course of four years, beginning in the 2023 fiscal year.

Commission members said they were concerned that deputies to some of the state’s constitutional officers were making more than the elected officials.

“We do want to properly compensate people who, given their qualifications often could do much, much better in the private sector,” said Commission member D. Bruce Poole, a former state delegate and former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party. “I realize that’s not the only reason for compensation, people should be in these jobs for other reasons, but still I think it’s important to recognize the seriousness of their jobs and I think they’re overdue for a substantial increase.”

Maryland had the highest median household income in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The recommended salary increase for the governor was lower in recognition of other benefits for that position, including food, housing and transportation, Poole said.

At $180,000, Maryland’s governor is currently the ninth-highest paid in the nation, according to a Department of Legislative Services analysis. New York’s governor has the highest pay at $225,000.

Maryland’s lieutenant governor, who has no constitutional duties, is the seventh-highest paid in the nation; the state’s comptroller and attorney general are both the 16th-highest paid; the treasurer is 12th-highest paid.

When the General Assembly convenes in January, legislators can lower the increase recommended by the commission, but can’t increase those recommended salaries. If lawmakers can’t adopt or amend the commission’s recommendations within the first fifty days of the legislative session, the commission’s recommendations take effect.

A separate panel is considering changes to legislative compensation for the next term.

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Panel Recommends Increased Salaries for Governor, Top Government Officials