Beekeepers agree more research is needed because bees continue to perish from colony collapse disorder and other ailments. But some say they want to be able to choose what research to support, and others say they just can't afford the tax with their businesses struggling.
Beekeepers must approve the proposal in a summer referendum for it to take effect.
The plan calls for the creation of a California Apiary Research Commission that would tax any beekeeper with more than 50 colonies of bees at a rate of up to $1 per hive.
California attracts beekeepers from all over the nation every spring for almond pollination.