Despite protests from voters and politicians, Wisconsin's controversial budget bill was signed into law Friday by Gov. Scott Walker.
The legislation forces state workers to pay part of their pensions and health care benefits, and also cuts their collective bargaining rights for wages.
The State Assembly passed the bill by a 53-42 vote, Thursday.
Walker said the law could save Wisconsin a much-need $30 million. He added that 1,500 state employees would have been laid off if it weren't for the budget cuts.
"This is ultimately about a commitment to the future, so our children don't face even more dire consequences than what we face today," Walker said at a news conference.
Democrats and union leaders have pledged to launch a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.
"On Nov. 2, people spoke very clearly," said Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, (R). "And very loudly and said they wanted government to change here in Madison. And that is what we are accomplishing the first part of that message today.
Democrats said their counterattack efforts have already begun in the form of donations.
The Democrats' Wisconsin chapter claimed it raised $300,000 overnight and collected $800,000 from 32,000 donors in only five days.