Utica, NY (WIBX) - Senator Joseph Griffo, (R-NY 47th District) hosted a round table discussion with local restaurant, bar and liquor store owners, to help boost economic activity in the area. Griffo also invited Dennis Rosen, Chairman of the State Liquor Authority to take part in the meeting, and says it's about finding ways to eliminate unfair practices, improving government efficiency, and enforcing business laws.

Griffo says local business owners always ask him to bring some ideas forward and said, "I thought the best way for them to present would be personally to him [Rosen] and he agreed, he and I have developed a very good working relationship over the last couple years, so I invited him here to facilitate this direct exchange between the industry and the regulator."

Griffo says some of the  concerns business owners face are about inspections, a level playing field and things they would like to see change. "A lot of them want to host events that they may not be able to do, and those are the kinds of things that we are trying to see what we can do, what may need statutory changes, what may need regulatory changes and just some clarifications," he said. The senator is also calling for a comprehensive review of the state alcohol beverage control regulations and laws and says Rosen will play an instrumental role in bringing about any proposed changes.

Rosen says the changes being implemented may surprise many business owners and says since he's been in office, he has worked to reduce the back log of liquor applications. "We have reduced the upstate back-log of people applying for liquor licenses to zero. The time to get a liquor license has been reduced to half or less what it used to be, and that's one way in which we are trying to be business friendly--we're trying to be a part of jump-starting the upstate economy," he said.

Some of the illegal activities Rosen says officials will be looking into are illegal gambling, cheating the consumer by filling more expensive bottles with cheaper liquor and not going through a designated manufacturer for purchases. Rosen says his emphasis is to not "Nickel and Dime" applicants or play "Gotcha" -- but rather to do good enforcement and help improve Central New York--an area that's experiencing a tough recessionary period.