Denver’s council president makes more money than Colorado’s governor

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper listens to a speaker during a press conference on the state capitol steps, calling out Donald Trump as a racist candidate. June 8, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)denver; denverite; governor john hickenlooper; capitol; capitol hill; speech; kevinjbeaty; colorado

Life seems pretty sweet if you’re Gov. John Hickenlooper. You get to rappel off buildings and talk about weed all the time and presumably play free pool at the brewery you started.

On the other hand, you have to live with the fact that you’re making a mere $90,000 from your government job. Yes, that’s almost 1.5 times the state’s median household income — but there are 46 other governors making more money than you.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper listens to a speaker during a press conference on the state capitol steps, calling out Donald Trump as a racist candidate. June 8, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; denverite; governor john hickenlooper; capitol; capitol hill; speech; kevinjbeaty; colorado
Cue mopey Charlie Brown music, although he’s not actually sad here. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

That $90,000 was about 67 percent of the average governor’s salary in 2015, according to The Council of State Governments. Hickenlooper is only making more than Maine’s Paul LePage and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. At the top of the pile is Pennsylvania, which pays out about $185,000 on the annual.

Interestingly, you could even make more money than Hickenlooper on the Denver City Council, which pays its president $90,428. (Regular members get about $80,000.)

Meanwhile, CU Buffs football coach Mike MacIntyre makes $2 million a year from the university and is hoping to have his first winning season this year.

Does Hick need a raise?

He’s probably doing OK. Tax returns released in 2010 showed $16 million of income spread out over 23 years, peaking with income of about $6 million when he sold most of his restaurant business in 2007. More recently, he reported gross income of about $467,000 in 2012.

Some argue that raising pay for elected officials attracts more talent, as outlined by Freakonomics. It’s pretty hard to say, though, how many people are really scoffing at a gubernatorial run because of the money.

 

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.