After 16 years of reporting in Honolulu, where I’ve covered just about every topic for the business, features, city and sports pages of local newspapers and magazines, I thought learning a new beat focused on the Honolulu economy and government spending would be easy. At one point, I sat alongside Peer News president Randy Ching — who’s a lawyer — and editor Sara Lin, a Princeton graduate who joined us from The Wall Street Journal. The three of us struggled to make sense out of a thick document, the City and County of Honolulu Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. You, too, can download the 269-page document. But why would you want to? That’s what I’m here for.

We’re trying to take complicated issues and make them understandable. Two issues I’m going to focus on to begin with are the city deficit and the Price of Paradise, the high cost of living in Hawaii.

One thing I’ve already discovered is that everywhere my fellow Money reporter, Noelle Chun, and I turn, the numbers don’t match. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen to you. I’ll try to do your leg work. I’m eager to hear what you want to know about the way the city government spends tax dollars. What’s important to you? Money may sound dry, but I think our conversation will be anything but.

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