Cross-posted at Zev.LACounty.Gov.

We spoke—and the governor listened.

Gov. Brown’s office announced that he’d scaled back one of the most onerous facets of his “realignment” plan to erase the state’s $26 billion deficit. Responding to concerns and criticisms of county leaders and law enforcement officials across the state, Brown significantly shrank the numbers of state prisoners and parolees he’d planned on putting under the management of California’s counties.

And that’s good news for a couple reasons.

First, our local criminal system already is bursting at the seams. Our jails are overcrowded and we simply don’t have the kind of staffing—or the money—needed to supervise the huge numbers of parolees with which the governor wanted to saddle us. The Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Lee Baca and District Atty. Steve Cooley had made this abundantly clear to Sacramento.

And second, Brown’s concession shows he’s willing to compromise in the face of compelling evidence—a refreshing development in an age of political brinksmanship. His change of course suggests that his overtures to us are sincerely intended to ensure that his budget plan doesn’t just undermine another branch of government—in our case, L.A. County.

Still, this is just a beginning. The governor’s budget remains a work in progress. And with the clock ticking, there are a number of other areas that must be addressed immediately.

Of particular concern is the question of how Brown’s realigned services would be funded down the road. Under his current plan, he’s banking on the public to pick up the tab for five years by voting to approve $5.9 billion in tax extensions. But what happens after that, assuming voters even get on board?

Currently, there are no airtight guarantees that the state’s counties would get the necessary funding for such realigned programs as foster care, substance abuse, mental health, adult parole and the incarceration of inmates formerly held in state prisons. Along these same lines, there also are no protections for counties should they face rising costs for new or unanticipated federal program requirements.

My colleagues and I believe that only a constitutionally-guaranteed stream of revenue can ensure that these programs do not break the county’s bank in five years when the voter-approved tax extensions would be set to expire. Although the Brown Administration has drafted language for a constitutional amendment, it remains thin on details, failing to provide the kind of certainties needed by the state’s counties. We’re currently in talks to remedy this situation.

I appreciate the enormity of the fiscal challenges inherited by Gov. Brown, and I applaud his focus in confronting them. I know that this business of slashing California’s crippling shortfall is a serious one, with impacts that will be felt for years to come.

That’s why it’s essential we do not replace old problems with new ones.