#### Explanation:

The problem states that the minimum wage in 1996 was less than it was in 2003.

How much less? The problem specifies that it was $w$ dollars less.

So you can come up with an expression to show that.

2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5.50 $\leftarrow$minimum wage in 2003 $w$less than that . . . ($5.50 - w) $\leftarrow$ minimum wage in 1996

The minimum wage in 1996 can be written as (\$5.50 - w)