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Starbucks' Howard Schultz to Trump: Corporate America Doesn't Need a Big Tax Cut

CEO Howard Schultz pauses while speaking during the Starbucks annual meeting of shareholders on March 22, 2017. Stephen Brashear—Getty Images

Investors have been salivating over the thought of President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, but Starbucks chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz says that’s not what the country needs.

“I don’t believe that corporate America needs a 20% tax cut,” Schultz, who has often criticized Trump’s policies, said Thursday during the New York Times DealBook conference. “The tax cut is not going to create a level playing field and more compassionate society.”

The Trump administration has prioritized overhauling the U.S. tax code. A key point of the overhaul: lowering the corporate tax rate from a statutory 35% to 20%. Investors meanwhile have cheered the potential of tax cuts, which would effectively boost corporate profits. But Schultz said Trump should be prioritizing other issues instead, such as growing income gaps. He criticized the tax plan’s potential impact on graduate students and homebuyers.

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“This is not tax reform,” he said. “This is fool’s gold.”

Read more: Trump Loves Taking Credit for the Record Stock Market. Other Presidents Did Better

Schultz’s skepticism aside, a key architect of the tax plan said Thursday that CEOs are generally optimistic about it.

“The most excited group out there are big CEOs,” Gary Cohn, the Director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC.

The future of the tax legislation is still up in the air. Senate Republicans were set to unveil their own version of the tax proposal Thursday that would delay corporate tax cuts until 2019, according to the The Washington Post.

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