Governor, other Mississippi elected officials set to receive large pay raises

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

By Geoff Pender

Mississippi Today

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:

Office: Current salary, New salary
Governor: $122,160 to $160,000
Attorney General: $108,960 to $150,000
Secretary of State: $90,000 to $120,000
Insurance Commissioner: $90,000 to $150,000
Treasurer: $90,000 to $120,000
Auditor: $90,000 to $150,000
Agriculture Commissioner: $90,000 to $120,000
Transportation Commissioners: $78,000 to $95,000
Public Service Commissioners: $78,000 to $95,000
Lieutenant Governor: $60,000 to $85,000
House Speaker: $60,000 to Gov$85,000

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 47-3, with Bryan and Sens. Angela Hill and Joseph Seymour voting no. Sens. Kathy Chism and Jeff Tate voted present.

The House vote was 84-20 for the bill, with six voting present and 12 absent or not voting. 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.

This story was originally published by Mississippi Today, mississippitoday.org.