Governor, other Mississippi officials set to receive large pay raises

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Legislature approved large raises for statewide and other elected officials starting in 2024


The Legislature as it winds up its 2022 session has approved large raises for statewide and other elected officials starting in 2024, after the next election.

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Here are salary changes that will start then if Gov. Tate Reeves signs House Bill 1426 into law:

  • Governor — increase to $160,000 from $122,160
  • Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Auditor — increases each to $150,000 from $108,960 (AG) and $90,000 (IC, Auditor)
  • Secretary of State, Treasurer, Agriculture Commissioner — increases each to $120,000 from $90,000
  • Transportation and Public Service Commissioners — increases to $95,000 each from $78,000
  • Lieutenant Governor and House Speaker — increases to $85,000 each from $60,000

Senate Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Chairman John Polk told senators before voting that the new salaries are recommended by the State Personnel Board, based on salaries in other states in the region. And, he noted, the raises would not go into effect until after the next state elections.

But some senators still expressed consternation, including Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, who said plainly, “I am not voting for this.” The Senate vote was 46-3, with Bryan and Sens. Angela Hill and Joseph Seymour voting no. Lincoln County Senator Jason Barrett voted present. Sens. Kathy Chism and Jeff Tate also voted present.

The House vote was 84-20 for the bill, with six voting present and 12 absent or not voting. Lincoln County Rep. Becky Currie voted against the bill; Rep. Vince Mangold voted in support.

House Appropriations Chairman John Read, R-Gautier, authored the bill.

Mississippi’s median household income is $45,081 a year — the lowest in the country.

Some lawmakers expressed apprehension about the bill, not because other elected officials were getting a raise, but because legislators were not.

“So everybody’s getting a raise except for legislators,” said Sen. Charles Younger, R-Columbus. “I feel like a redheaded stepchild.”

Sen. Sollie Norwood, D-Jackson, said: “Was there any discussion regarding the rationale of a pay raise for legislators not being considered?”

Polk reminded lawmakers that a measure to increase lawmakers’ pay died earlier in the legislative session.

The Senate had passed a bill that would give lawmakers a pay bump of $6,000 for the first year of a four year term, and $4,500 a year for the other three years of a term.

Mississippi’s part-time legislators are paid a base of $23,500 a year — although most make between $40,000 and $50,000 a year in salary, per diem, reimbursements and other payments. Some lawmakers’ total compensation is around $70,000 a year.

By Geoff Pender, Mississippi Today