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Alaska governor cuts funds for cold housing research center

Budget cuts by Alaska's governor include funding for the state's Cold Climate Housing Research Center, officials said.

The center in Fairbanks was among the line-item budget vetoes signed into law last week by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

The center's $750,000 line-item was among the $34.7 million in cuts from the capital budget.

The center specializes in developing and testing energy efficient and cold climate-centered building designs.

Dunleavy, a Republican, vetoed more than $400 million from the state operating budget in June. The Legislature failed to override the vetoes and instead returned a bill seeking to restore many of the vetoes. Dunleavy has said he will finalize the budget this week.

The veto slashes the center's core-function budget, said center Director Jack Hebert.

"Core funding is something the state has given us since we were founded 20 years ago. It enables us to pursue and manage all the grants we receive," Hebert said.

He added: "It is also funding that allows us to have direct collaboration with home owners, builders, housing authorities, international partners, federal agencies for housing needs."

The state funds allowed the facility to examine problems and have a base level of functions to then apply for further grants to address those problems, Hebert said.

The organization was expecting funding to be distributed July 1 and the loss leaves a significant void in the program, he said.

"We're going to be looking for private philanthropic organizations that might be able to help us," Hebert said. "There's a big hole in our operation right now."

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