Indiana’s governor to be among highest paid after new salary increases take effect
A pay raise for Indiana’s top elected officials will make the state’s next governor one of the highest paid in the nation.
State lawmakers included the increases in the next biennial budget, although new salaries won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2025.
The Indiana governor’s salary will raise 48% to be equal to that of an Indiana Supreme Court Justice. Gov. Eric Holcomb makes about $134,000 annually, compared to the justice’s pay of $198,513.
As of 2022, Holcomb’s yearly pay ranked 34th in the country among that of other governors, according to data from the Council of State Governments, a nonprofit organization sponsored by state governments. The organization collects the salary data through an annual survey.
By those numbers, the raise would make the Indiana chief executive’s salary the fifth highest in the country, behind only New York, California, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Even though pay increases are on the horizon for some other governors, the Hoosier governor’s new salary will likely rise above most. The average annual gubernatorial salary across all 50 states in 2022 was $148,939. In the Midwest, the average salary is currently $139,520.
More pay for Indiana officials
The state’s highest offices got the significant pay raise in the last version of the next two-year budget — even though the language never got any public vetting during the four-month legislative session.
The sitting governor’s successor — not Holcomb — will be the first to benefit, however. Holcomb has a term limit and cannot run again for his seat.
Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said legislators have discussed salary increases for years as a way to ensure top state officials are “on par with the other leaders in government.”
GOP Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray added that those offices are “woefully underpaid” in comparison to other states. He emphasized, too, that “not a one of them” asked for the raises.
“This particular session, when asked, I stated that I understand (the raises) for others. But when I ran for this office, I knew what the salary was — and so I didn’t support it for myself,” Holcomb said shortly after the budget advanced from the General Assembly. “I was very pleased that the leaders took that to heart and started after (my term ends). And that gives everyone who seeks to run for office in the future – they know what the new salary will be.”
But Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, whose office would get a 60% bump, was candid about her disapproval for the last-minute process that saw the raises included in the state’s next spending plan.
“If it’s something that’s important to do, and if the work we do really reflects a higher salary — which I’m not arguing against — it should be part of the process,” said Crouch, who is running for governor in 2024. “It should be … discussed and vetted and people should be able to weigh in.”
Part of a nationwide trend
New York has the highest gubernatorial salary at $250,000, while Maine has the lowest at $70,000, according to the latest data gathered by the Council of State Governments.
But governors in numerous other states are also set to see their paychecks go up.
A bill approved by West Virginia’s legislature in March will raise the governor’s salary from $150,000 to $180,000 starting in 2025. The increase is based on a statutory percentage of the compensation of a member of the United States Congress.
Other state officers — including West Virginia’s attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, treasurer and agriculture commissioner — will also see increased pay.
In January, Alaska’s governor and members of the state legislature received a significant pay raise
Alaska’s State Officers Compensation Commission increased the governor’s salary from $145,000 per year to approximately $176,000 per year. The lieutenant governor’s salary additionally rose from $125,000 per year to about $140,000.
But in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law last month a measure that gives all statewide elected officials — except herself — a five-figure salary increase.
Lawmakers there excluded the governor from the proposal amid concerns she would be breaking the law if she signed a bill giving herself a raise midterm. Instead, New Mexico’s governor will receive a $60,000 raise after the next election cycle — up from $110,000 to nearly $170,000.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan effort is underway in Maine to raise the governor’s lowest-in-the-nation salary from $70,000 to $125,000, beginning with the next governor.
A bill still under consideration would raise the governor’s salary for the first time in 36 years and also would increase the executive’s annual expense account from $30,000 to $40,000, effective January 2027.
Even bigger boosts for other Hoosier officials
Back in Indiana, the biggest salary increase among state officials will come to the lieutenant governor, whose pay will become 88% of a justice’s salary. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch makes $108,819 and her successor will earn $174,690.
The office does lose its per diem under the proposal, however. Crouch has announced her intention to run for governor in the coming cycle.
Across the 45 states with lieutenant governors in 2022, the average annual salary for that position was $108,380. New York had the highest lieutenant governor salary at $220,000 compared to Texas, which had the lowest salary at $7,200.
The attorney general will also see an increase of 45%, from $113,653 to $164,765, the latter of which is 83% of a justice’s salary. Incumbent Attorney General Todd Rokita has indicated that he will run for re-election in 2024.
Three other executive offices — the state auditor, state treasurer and secretary of state — will earn two-thirds of justice’s salary, or $131,018. Currently, those offices earn $94,501 and are set to see a 39% raise.
Across 47 states, the 2022 average salary among secretaries of state was $121,628, white the average salary for all 50 state attorneys general was $139,075. States have various financial positions and duties so it is difficult to compare auditor and treasurer salaries.
Caption: The Indiana governor’s salary will raise 48% in 2025, making the Hoosier chief executive one of the highest paid in the country. (Photo by Casey Smith/Indiana Capital Chronicle)
This story originally ran on the Indiana Capital Chronicle, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.