After the small business tax credit bill passed in the Senate yesterday, Democrats are highlighting comments made by Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous on the issue of minimum wage–calling them an example of “astounding ignorance.”

During the debate, Senate Democrats once again injected their stance that the state minimum wage should be increased from the federal rate of $7.25 to $8.50. At the end of the discussion, Libous stated that raising the minimum wage would have a negative impact on job creation, as it did the last time it was raised in 2009.

“The number of jobs has gone down since the period of time that the minimum wage went up and there are statistics that show that,” said Libous, R-Binghamton.

“It is my belief that since the last minimum wage increase to $7.25 by the federal government we have been in one of the worst recessions this country has seen since the Great Depression.”

Senate Democratic Conference Spokesperson Mike Murphy fired back today saying:

“To imply that raising the minimum wage in an attempt to lift millions of hard-working Americans out of crushing poverty in some way led to the economic disaster this country has endured is either woefully ill-informed or reprehensibly misleading,” Murphy said in a statement.

“Raising the poverty wage to a livable sum will give over one million New Yorkers an opportunity for a better future for them and their families. The Senate Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for standing in the way of this progress.”

The conference also argues that private sector job growth began to rise at a faster rate following the July 2009 implementation of the federal minimum wage hike than it did in the months leading up to the nosedive in September of 2008. However, to imply that the rate of minimum wage solely and directly impacted to the recession or its recovery is subjective.

Update: Business groups point to this study from Ball State as evidence that increasing the minimum wage forced companies to cut jobs.

Min Wage