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Romney offers compromise on Ruane pension

Governor Mitt Romney proposed yesterday that state lawmakers pay for the pension of a former House member who never contributed to the state pension system.

Under the terms of an amendment the governor sent to the House and Senate, members of both chambers, the governor, and the lieutenant governor would pay one-half of 1 percent of their base compensation to the state pension fund, which would cover the pension for the widow of former representative Michael Ruane of Salem, who died Sunday at age 78.

The Legislature had passed a bill granting him a $44,000-per-year pension.

Romney estimated the cost of his arrangement at $275 per member per year, and $675 and $600 annually for the governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

The Legislature's bill would impose a state lien on Ruane's house to recover the pension costs once Ruane's widow, Helena, dies.

One House member was dismissive of Romney's proposal. ``That's the most politically expedient thing I've ever heard in my life," said Representative Kevin Murphy, a Lowell Democrat. ``We devised a way to pay for the Ruane pension."

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