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Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Chris Christie is just trolling New Jerseyans at this point.

In June, a Quinnipiac University poll found that his approval rating stood at a dismal 15 percent, the lowest of any American governor in decades. Yet this past weekend, he was photographed sunbathing on a beach that had been closed to the public amid a state government shutdown.

Here are five ways the New Jersey governor is extending a giant middle finger to voters before he leaves office:.

1. Shutting down beaches…for taxpayers.

A health care bill involving Horizon, the state’s largest health insurer, catalyzed a fiscal debacle not seen since 2006.

“I’m not happy about this,” Christie said in a press conference, hours before the government shutdown began Friday. “This is completely avoidable.”

As a result, all state-run parks, recreational areas, forests, camping areas, historic sites, and beaches were shuttered. But not for Christie. The New Jersey governor and his family had Island Beach State Park all to themselves on Sunday, less than 48 hours after the start of the shutdown.

In an interview WTXF-TV in Philadelphia on Monday, Christie offered this inexplicable defense of his afternoon tanning session: “Well, I’m sorry… they’re not the governor.”

2. No interest in helping Atlantic City.

After updating the legislation to his liking, “Gov. Chris Christie once again rejected a set of rescue bills aiming to give a boost to the financially struggling Jersey Shore gambling resort,” reported NJ.com in January last year.

Christie provided no explanation for his decision, which left a $33.5 million gap in Atlantic City’s municipal budget. Now, casinos could be forced to shut down if the stalemate continues, costing the city millions during peak tourist season.

3. Marijuana arrests on the rise.

A new American Civil Liberties Union report published in June found that marijuana arrests have been steadily rising under Christie, a former federal prosecutor, just as New Jersey is progressing toward legalization.

What’s worse, according to the ACLU, “black residents were three times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested on marijuana charges despite no difference in the rate of marijuana use between the two groups.”

4. Commuting remains a mess.

A transportation expert pulled Crain’s reporter Greg David aside ​at the Crain’s Real Estate Forum in June.

“It’s going to be a tense summer in the city,” he warned, “with 400,000 angry people getting off the trains each day.”

“He was referring to the commuters from New Jersey and Long Island derailed by track problems at Penn Station,” reported David, “and the 100,000 or more subway riders who see their commute disrupted every day by the antiquated signal system.”

A week earlier, New Jersey Advance Media had found that less than 50 percentof the state’s morning trains to Penn Station arrived on time in May.

“State aid to New Jersey Transit declined by 90% under Gov. Chris Christie,” David added.

5. Back pay not likely for workers affected by shutdown.

When 45,000 government workers were pulled off the job during New Jersey’s first-ever state government shutdown, Gov. Jon Corzine, along with the state senate and assembly, agreed to grant them retroactive pay.

“Don’t count on it [this time],’ Christie has asserted.

“That was Jon ‘I’ll fight for a good contract for you’ Corzine,” he said of the former governor at a news conference Friday. “I ain’t him.”

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

A Week That Was Disastrous For Trump, Miraculous For Biden

Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he was elected president, according to a blockbuster report published by the New York Times on Sunday.

The Times report also found that Trump is millions of dollars in debt, incurred through a series of failed business ventures — a fact that runs counter to Trump's self-made image as a successful businessman. Trump has also used his financial failings to avoid paying taxes, the report found.

The president has resisted revealing his financial information since the start of his first presidential campaign, despite promising otherwise. "I would certainly show tax returns if it was necessary," Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in 2015. Yet for five years, the president has failed to produce the documents.The president paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and paid another $750 in 2017, according to the report. And in 2014, Trump paid zero dollars in taxes.

Conservatives including Trump often suggest that undocumented immigrants take advantages of government services without contributing their fair share. Throughout his first term, Trump has repeatedly cast blame on immigrants and suggested they post an economic burden to U.S. taxpayers.

"Our current immigration system costs America's taxpayers many billions of dollars a year," Trump claimed in 2017 during his first presidential address to Congress.

That claim does not hold up to scrutiny. In reality, undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in taxes every year. In 1996, the Internal Revenue Service created a program for non-citizens who work in the U.S. to report their income. Non-citizens who do not have a Social Security Number — including undocumented immigrants — are able to file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN. According to the IRS, 4.4 million people paid taxes using an ITIN in 2015, totaling $23.6 billion in tax revenue.

This raises the question: why would undocumented immigrants pay U.S. taxes if they are unauthorized to live in the country? Immigrants often choose to pay taxes in order to demonstrate "good moral character" when applying for legal residence or citizenship, according to the National Immigration Law Center. Undocumented immigrants who fail to pay their taxes risk deportation.

"Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, paid an estimated $328 billion in state, federal, and local taxes in 2014 alone," Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, told the American Independent Foundation. "It is outrageous that the average undocumented immigrant in the United States pays more in federal income taxes than the President did in 2016."

This contrast is especially ironic given Trump's tendency to deride unauthorized immigrants as irresponsible lawbreakers. Trump has a tendency to respond to criticism with projection — when accused, he accuses others of the same thing.

"Yes, undocumented immigrants are helping fund the very system that detain and deport us," journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who is undocumented, tweeted in 2019.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.