A survey of business leaders and registered voters in New York set to be released later on Thursday found large majorities backing an expansion of child care access and subsidies to pay for it through the state budget. 

The survey was released by Robin Hood, a New York City-based poverty-fighting group that has pushed for the issue, and comes as state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are negotiating a proposed $216 billion budget that is expected to pass by the end of the month. 

“We applaud our leaders in Albany for making child care a focus of budget negotiations," said Richard R. Buery, Jr., CEO of Robin Hood. "This poll makes clear that both business leaders and everyday New Yorkers don’t want incremental change. Accessible, high-quality child care is, of course, an investment in the future of our children and is essential for parents and caregivers who are seeking to get back to work."

It also comes as some legislators are calling for a major expansion of child care to include virtually every family in the state. But there are additional proposals that have been made to expand child care and support for families through the state budget. 

The group's survey found 76% of business decision-makers polled back having more families eligible for subsidized child care, affecting a family of four that earns below $106,000. More than a third of business leaders, 37%, strongly backed the proposal. 

The poll also found support from 69% of those surveyed for capping child care costs at 7% of a family's income for those households making $250,000 or less. 

A majority of people who make key business decisions, 52%, called child care a serious issue for their company. 

And the bigger the company, the more likely a business leader would support a child care expansion: At small businesses of 49 employees or less, support for a child care expansion runs 67% in support to 27% opposed. But at larger companies of 250 workers or more, support among business leaders is above 80%, the poll found.  

Support for an expansion runs strongest in New York City, where 82% of those business leaders surveyed backed it. Still, in the rest of New York state, 68% of those surveyed were supportive as well.  

A push to expand child care accessibility and affordability has been spurred in large part by the pandemic, and the complications of balancing work and child care needs in the process. Many people are returning to their offices or being urged to do so by elected officials.

The cost of child care, meanwhile, has sharply increased amid a shortage of workers as well as options for families. 

"Childcare continues to be a tremendous challenge for working parents in New York State," said Business Council President Heather Briccetti. "The pandemic, which shined a light on the need, has also created an opportunity for New York lawmakers and regulators to envision and create a better childcare system with quality as the foundation and equitable access to those in need of care.” 

The poll was conducted from Feb. 11 through Feb. 16 of 2,132 registered voters. The poll included 465 business decision-makers. Its overall margin of error is 2.1 percentage points.

A breakdown of the results can be found here.