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Legislators Pay Salary

The median annual wage of legislators was $19,260 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,790, and the top 10 percent earned more than $84,320.

Salaries vary based on position, level of government, and full- or part-time status. Salaries range from very little for part-time positions to $174,000 a year for most members of the U.S. Congress. A few members earn more, including the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who earns $223,500 per year. 

For members of state legislatures, salaries range from $100 per year to more than $100,000 per year. According to the National Council of State Legislators, legislators who worked full time earned an average of $68,599, and those who worked part time earned an average of $15,984. 

The work schedules of legislators vary with the size and budget of the governmental unit. Time spent at work ranges from meeting once a month for a local council member to full time with long hours for a U.S. Senator. U.S. Senators and Representatives and legislators in large local jurisdictions usually work full time, year round, as do many county and city managers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition