The pay to state legislators varies dramatically from state to state. In one state, it’s zero and in another state it’s $100 per year. At the high end, it reaches $119,702 per year.

Do we get better governance from legislatures in which the politicians are paid more? The quick answer is no. If anything, it’s the other way around. The two legislatures in which politicians are paid the most are arguably the states that are among the worst governed. And a number of the states where politicians are paid modestly or very little have some of the best governance. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports all the data here.

These are the opening paragraphs of my “Does Higher Pay to Legislators Lead to Better Governance?TaxBytes, Institute for Policy Innovation, January 11, 2023.

Another excerpt:

On the other end, New Mexico legislators are paid zero. Instead, they get a per diem of $202 per day. By far the lowest paid legislators, when you include per diems, is New Hampshire: Legislators’ base pay is $100 for the year and their per diem is zero. Their only monetary pay is 58.5 cents per mile for driving to and from the state capital in Concord.

And what do people in New Hampshire get in return for this low pay? Let’s see. They pay no sales tax and no income tax. That sounds like a good deal to me.

Read the whole thing, which is short.