On Oregon’s 2016 political to-do list sits a high-profile issue that could shape the state’s economy: The minimum wage.

At $9.25, our state’s minimum wage is the nation’s second-highest. But rising wealth inequality and an aging minimum wage worker demographic is causing some to champion higher pay. Currently about 40 percent of working Oregonians (and 35 percent of the Portland metro workforce) earn less than $15/hour. And more than one-third of those workers are in the hospitality sector.

On this week’s Biz503, our topic is Oregon’s minimum wage. We’ll be looking at the question at the heart of the wage hike discussion: Will raising the minimum wage help lift people out of poverty, or will it harm the local economy?

Co-hosted by Rebecca Webb and Stephen Green, this episode of Biz503 tries to answer that question, and explores the impact of a minimum wage hike on the economy, business owners and workers.

Our panel:

Rebecca Alexander, Development Director at Bradley Angle

Julie Hayden, Janitor at Portland International Airport

Amy Callahan,Director of Communications and Advancement at the Nonprofit Association of Oregon.

Suzanne Stevens, Editor at the Portland Business Journal

Claire Randall, Co-Owner of Grand Central Baking

Deborah Field, Owner of Paperjam Press

Bill Perry, Representative for the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association

Jamie Partridge, 15 Now PDX

Ian McDonald, City Club of Portland

Listen to the podcast of Biz503 for January 8, 2016, here: