President George W. Bush signed into law today a law extending the reauthorization of one of the SBA?s most important job creation programs, the 504 Loan Program. The House and Senate passed the legislation late last week.

The 504 Program operates at no cost to the taxpayer, yet in fiscal year
2003 it supported nearly $8 billion in project financing, and over the life of the program has created approximately one million jobs.

?Signing this important bill into law is yet another sign of President
Bush?s strong commitment to America?s small businesses and to job creation,? said U.S. Small Business Administrator Hector V. Barreto. ?I would also like to thank those in the House and Senate leadership who led this legislation to passage, including Speaker Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, House Majority Leader Tom Delay and Senator Olympia Snowe. They are true friends of small business who understand the importance of the 504 Program. Thousands of small business owners depend on the 504 Loan Program to help them expand their businesses and create good new jobs. These loans go to companies that are leading the way in our economic recovery. They are buying new technology, new office space, and new property. They are creating good jobs across America.?

The 504 Loan Program operates with no appropriated dollars, but does require statutory authority to charge the fees to cover the cost of the program. House Resolution 3915 extends the 504 fee authority through May 21st 2004, allowing the program to continue operating.

The 504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to small businesses to acquire real estate, machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. By improving small businesses access to capital for capital improvements and acquisition, the 504 Program helps businesses expand and create full time, permanent jobs in their communities. These loans are delivered through Certified Development Companies, which are private, nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping businesses grow and thrive in their local communities.