The five Democratic state senators who are former members of the New York City Council are pushing back on a claim made by IDC Sen. Diane Savino that they are blocking a measure that would create a system to publicly finance political campaigns.

Savino, one of five independent Democrats who have formed a coalition with Senate Republicans, told The New York Observer’s Politicker that one of the impediments to public financing are ex-council members who are current legislators in Albany.

“The biggest obstacle to getting a campaign finance reform program like the New York City program for the State of New York is not the Upstate members who are opposed to it because they don’t want to use tax money,” Savino told the Observer. “There’s a lot of people who have a concern about that, you know were cutting budgets everywhere, how does it look for us to spend the taxpayers’ money on our own campaigns?… It’s a valid criticism, but the biggest obstacle is current legislators who are former New York City Council members who participated in the program. Democrats and Republicans, they hate it.”

But the Democratic lawmakers who sat on the city Council — Sens. Joe Addabbo, Tony Avella, Ruben Diaz, Sr., Martin Dilan and Jose Serrano — say in a statement that’s not the case.

“To clarify any confusion, we wish to make clear our belief that public financing would be an indispensable part of any real campaign finance reform legislation,” they said in a joint statement. “We are proud to stand with Governor Cuomo and the Senate Democratic Conference in support of the public financing of elections, and urge the Republican Coalition and its allies to drop their opposition to this essential proposal.”

Senate Democrats are pushing for a public-financing system for state races that is similar to the program for New York City elections. Senate Republicans in the past year have blocked a public financing measure that was introduced by Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, saying a taxpayer-funded system is too expensive and a poor use of resources.

The Independent Democratic Conference is pushing campaign finance reform, but hasn’t spelled out precisely what that means yet. Savino said on Capital Tonight recently that she backs public financing, but said some voters may not embrace such a move.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with Public Radio’s Karen Dewitt he would back a measure that includes disclosure requirements for independent expenditure groups, but declined to say whether public financing was a make-or-break component.

Update: A Savino spokesman called to clarify that the Staten Island lawmaker was suggesting that those who have had experience with the New York City public matching model would want to improve upon the program before adopting a similar system statewide, but she didn’t intend to suggest they were opposed to public financing in general.