Rates of increases in property taxes have been halved since 1985, when the state enacted a Truth in Taxation law requiring a public hearing before a tax increase can be adopted, a Utah State Tax Commission summary found.

The summary, drafted earlier this month, found from 1980 to 1985, before the law was adopted, property taxes increased at an annual rate of 11.8 percent throughout Utah.Beginning in 1985, the first year of Truth in Taxation, the average annual rate of property tax increases was 4.4 percent, the summary found.

"It has really had a marked affect because the rate of taxation has dropped by one-half," said state Tax Commission spokesman Lee Shaw.

The number of taxing districts that have proposed or approved tax increases has also decreased. In 1986, 77 of the state's 548 taxing entities proposed increases. In 1988, only 23 of 562 proposed increases.

The law requires those taxing districts that levy property taxes, such as cities and counties, to give public notice of proposed tax increases above the previous year's rates, allowing for some economic growth.

The law also converted mill levies to percentage tax rates and adjusted them to make the tax law less complicated and revenue neutral.