The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Putting Lawmakers’ Salaries in Context

with one comment

The Nerve is running an interesting piece today on legislative compensation. They found that the average legislator earns $32,000 a year once salary, per diem and in-district compensation is accounted for.

$32,000 may not seem like a lot of money – until we realize that average per capita income in South Carolina was just under $32,000 for 2009.

Or that lawmakers earn $32,000 for working three days a week for five months a year.  That translates into $6,400 a month.

Or that $32,000 is a starting teacher’s salary in South Carolina.

Of course, because lawmakers have failed to index the state’s tax brackets, $32,000 is more than enough to catapult them into the state’s top income tax bracket of 7 percent for income over $13,700/year.

Then, again, the IRS apparently also considers anyone who earns more than $32,000 to be “wealthy.” Such earners rank among the top half of U.S. taxpayers and paid more than 97 percent of all income taxes in 2007, according to an IRS report issued last year.

Putting things into context, $32,000 for five months work is not too shabby.

But putting things into context …

  • And an on-time graduation rate of only 55 percent

… And it’s fair to ask whether the citizens of South Carolina are really getting their money’s worth?


Written by Jameson Taylor

October 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Transparency

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  1. […] put this figure into perspective, per capita income in South Carolina was $31,799 for […]

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