Like most states, Rhode Island is in a budget crunch. One partial solution, proposed by legislators last week, is a cap on art for public buildings.

As the Providence Journal says, the proposal was spurred in part by a few high-profile, high-ticket items:

First there were the $84,000 neon lights on the side of the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Then there was the $100,000 recording of birds chirping outside the new Kent County Courthouse.

And who can forget the proposed $500,000 cloud machine that would have floated into the terminal at T.F. Green Airport years back?

Of course the argument against the proposed cap is pretty obvious -- public art is about civic pride, opening residents' minds to new ideas, etc. 

But it's a little hard to argue that the state should continue funding art at the expense of, say, teacher salary raises or state trooper staffing.

Still -- cap or no cap -- can we please find some way to fund that cloud machine?  How freaking cool would that be??