State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has decided not to opt in to the yearlong public campaign finance system established in the 2014-15 budget solely for his office in the upcoming elections.

In a statement, DiNapoli called the pilot program “a poor excuse to avoid the real reforms New Yorkers deserve,” adding:

“At this point, I cannot participate in this pilot. I was always willing to have reform start with the Comptroller’s office, but I will not be a convenient sacrificial lamb.”

“I hope that before the legislative session ends, there will be comprehensive campaign finance reform, as well as a reconsideration of the proposal I advanced, with realistic timeframes for successful implementation.”

This doesn’t come as a big surprise. DiNapoli has been saying since word of the comptroller-only option in the budget leaked that he does not support the idea – despite the fact that he has promoted it in years past.

The idea to use the state comptroller as a public finance guinea pig was agreed to by the governor and three legislative leaders, but DiNapoli was blindsided by the agreement, complaining that he had not been consulted or included in negotiations.

The comptroller’s decision not to opt into the program will no doubt draw criticism from the governor and whoever his GOP opponent is, should one emerge (the likelihood of that has increased since the establishment of the low-donor matching program, assuming the state Board of Elections can manage to get it off the ground in time).

But DiNapoli is getting cover for his non-participation from campaign finance advocates, who praised the Assembly for passing the comptroller-only plan in 2011, but have said this version is being established too late in the election season to be fair.

Also, since circumstances have changed in the campaign finance arena, the advocates are no longer willing to accept half a loaf when it comes to a publicly funded system.

They are blaming the governor for failing to push the Senate Republicans hard enough to agree to a system that includes more than just the comptroller – something they insist is necessary to address the ongoing corruption problems that have long plagued Albany.